70 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum!

  1. <b<Just for fun!

    The unethical tactical pattern that the political left is using is very, very clear and the following statement cannot be stated often enough…

    “The political left has shown its pattern of propaganda lies within their narratives so many times since 2016 that it’s beyond me why anyone would blindly accept any narrative that the political left and their lapdog media actively push?”

    Here’s the “fun” part; post a reply to this comment that contains one of the unethical false narratives that you’ve seen since 2016 and let’s see what kind of list we come up with. Keep it brief and just one false narrative per reply. Scroll through the list before posting so we can attempt to avoid duplicates.

    I’ll start.

  2. It’s been an interesting day so far.

    This morning a new duplex under construction a few blocks away from my home exploded and caught the one next to it on fire. Luckily no one was hurt. I was over there for a few hours after the explosion helping out the Police, Fire departments and the Salvation Army with what ever I could; that’s what good neighbors in small towns do.

    While taking a break from moving debris I approached an ongoing conversation across the street with a guy that lived right next to the one that caught on fire. This guy was standing in a small group of five or six people loudly complaining about the response from the Fire Department. The firemen in the immediate area could hear this guy ranting. This guy was spewing one ridiculous smear after another and it didn’t take me long to get my fill. I interrupted his diatribe and asked him “are you a fireman?” and he answered “no”, and I said to him, “with all due respect and realizing that you may be suffering from a little bit of shock right now, but a home just blew the fuck up? Maybe you shouldn’t smear the Fire Department until you join the Fire Department and fully understand what their job entails when there’s been a fucking explosion! The Fire Department isn’t in the world to measure up to your expectations, there here to do their job safely and they shouldn’t have to listen to your complaining.” The guy opened his mouth to speak again and I said “just don’t” with a rather stern look on my face, he turned and walked away.

    Was I ethically wrong to confront this guy in the manner which I did?

    • Barbarians at the gates. Interesting, by the way, to look at where that phrase comes from. It’s entirely appropriate for our southern border.

      I was also reminded of the poem ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’ by C.P. Cavafy. Not entirely germane, but relevent.

  3. I got an email today from the USPS telling there is a shipping issues – with tracking # relating to their inability to verify my address through a process called Informed Delivery.

    Apparently, the post office is now not just scanning mail for sorting purposes they are imaging and storing the data. This “Informed Delivery” service is touted as a benefit, so you know what to expect in your mailbox each day. Because I was suspicious of the text message coming from an unknown number along with a tracking number for some shipment that they said we were to be receiving – yet I had no record of an order – I looked up this service and found that thieves could sign up using your address and get information about mail you would receive. The USPS site says that they verify identities, but my issue is with a government agency scanning and storing images of my mail. They can scan away to their hearts content for sorting purposes but when they store images of mail that may suggest my political ideas by virtue of knowing to whom I correspond I get worried.

    “Informed Delivery is a free and optional notification service that gives residential consumers the ability to digitally preview their letter-sized mailpieces and manage their packages scheduled to arrive soon. Informed Delivery makes mail more convenient by allowing users to view what is coming to their mailbox whenever, wherever – even while traveling – on a computer, tablet or mobile device. To automate the sortation and delivery of mail, the United States Postal Service® (USPS) digitally images the front of letter-sized mailpieces that run through automation equipment. USPS is now using those images to provide digital notifications to users in advance of the delivery of physical mail. Informed Delivery benefits the entire household, ensuring that everyone has visibility into mail and package delivery each day. Informed Delivery allows users to take action before important items reach their mailbox, while offering mailers an unprecedented opportunity to engage users through synchronized direct mail and digital marketing campaigns.”

    What do others think about the USPS storing images of your mail for any reason?

    • You know, that’s amazing. I was just watching some episodes of Rizzoli and Isles last night after the ball game. One of them featured as an investigative tool pictures of mail pieces sent to a bogus address, based on a bar code from one of the packages. They were able to look at pictures of all the packages sent to that address and determine that one was en route at that very time.

      It didn’t register at the time what they called it, but it has to have been this Informed Delivery service — it was exactly what you are describing.

      I will note that UPS, Amazon Prime, FedEx all will email you tracking updates — you can go online and see where your package is now and where and when it’s been. If you have tracking with USPS they will do that as well. Amazon, at least, tends to take a picture of the package when they leave it at your door and email that to you.

      We were discussing data surveillance on the internet a few days ago. This is another aspect of that trend, I think. I imagine it is big companies such as Amazon, Walmart and the like who ship gazillions of packages to their customers who are driving this tracking mania. For an individual it has a tendency to be way too much information, but it lets them deal with their customers in a more informed and cost effective manner. No more of the ‘Your check is in the mail’ type responses.

      Good or bad, I suspect it is another feature of the information era. Perhaps the upside is that it reduces lost packages a lot for domestic shipments. I think that is the case, at any rate. I’ve sent and received thousands of packages over the past 20 years, and lost packages are very rare.

      • I understand tracking by fedex et al. In all those f those cases they use Proprietary tracking numbers that cannot convey and sender information. This goes way beyond tracking numbers when the USPS are is acting as a direct mail partner and collecting information about who is sending info to my address. Imagine if you a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy or some other group that is deemed unworthy to exist. How do you prevent the FBI from demanding the USPS images of your mail. Their motto seems to be show us the person and we will show you the crime.

      • I don’t care about imaging for sorting purposes but cataloguing the images and maintaining them for some undetermined amount of time should be worrisome.
        Privacy standards are not worth the paper they are printed on until organizations who fail to maintain them can be sued by any individual whose data was compromised. No more giving 2 years of ID theft protection for those affected. Moreover, no law enforcement agency should be able to access it without a warrant that is specific as to what they are looking for and the time period.

        • >>>cataloguing the images and maintaining them for some undetermined amount of time should be worrisome.

          Agreed. If this is done, it should be for a very short and pre-determined period of time. If police need more, they can get a warrant for keeping future images. The warrant procedure is at the heart of our federal democratic system of governance, I think.

  4. Just came from a piano recital. Ethics/civility question: Why do people who have to cough go to (classical) musical performances? Do they even realize how inconsiderate of the performer and the audience they are? What is wrong with them? Why don’t they just stay home and go some other night? Why don’t they even make a minimal effort to muffle their coughs or cough during the forte parts? I’m tempted to shout, “Stop coughing!” Which would go over like a lead balloon.

    • It’s involuntary, part of crowd behavior. My least favorite version is the audience member who instantly coughs when he or she sees an actor smoke on stage, even if the cigarette hasn’t been lit. I have happily humiliated patrons on my shows who complained about “smoke” when I observed them coughing the nanosecond a cigarette appeared. “So smoke travels at the speed of light? I did not know that!”

      • I find this really interesting… Bodily functions fall on a spectrum of involuntary to voluntary, and they shift depending on the individual and time.

        They also have varying degrees of social acceptance and “ignorability” by other people. Luckily, things most objectionable are usually mostly controllable.

        Farting is mostly controllable, and level of objectionable varies randomly and to a narrow general area and time. Many people engage in it without consequence. My grandmother freely did so until she got her hearing aids.

        Calling attention to the event is usually discouraged with or by using blame shifting–“He who smelt it, dealt it!”, or shifted to the canine in the room.

        Coughing at the sight of a cigarette might for some people be as involuntary as yawning at the sight of someone else tired, but certainly isn’t as ignorable, and affects a large area. It might also be a faked response by someone being an ass, like someone who sighs or gasps loudly if they take offense to something.

        Calling attention to a cougher would raise levels of cough suppression in the entire group, but only benefits those who can’t easily tune out coughing as background noise. It also would increase the proportion of people who notice coughing.

        Laughing vey much depends on context, but can come on as an involuntary fit at the wrong time.

        Then there’re medical issues that can drive these all–IBS, COPD, and Tourette syndrome. Calling out the objectionable in these situations is simply disrespectful to the person suffering the condition.

        • I find it hard to consider coughing at a concert involuntary. Take some cough drops. Just don’t cough. Cough into your arm, cover your mouth with your hands. Don’t let coughs loose like a foghorn. I think it’s just stupid, inconsiderate behavior that’s bizarrely deemed acceptable.

          • I’m sure the Venn diagram of those who easily mentally tune out a cough in a theater and do not suppresses their own cough almost exactly overlap, as do the circles of those who always suppress their own coughing and are also bothered by them.

            Like my farting deaf grandmother, she stopped only when she became aware of other people’s experience.

  5. So I’ve been hanging out more than I should on Real Clear Politics, looking at their polling trends and projections. Since mid September the trends have been clear, especially the last three weeks.

    Each week the outlook for the November elections looks a bit better. In the House, at one point they were calling it 218-185 for the GOP, the rest undecided and the average gain at about 21 seats. Today, it’s 225-175, still 35 undecided with the average gain projected at 29.5 seats for the GOP. But I recall 2020 when there were about the same or more undecided races on election eve. Almost every one of those undecideds went to the Republicans. If something like that happens again, they could be looking at 250-260 seats.

    The Senate a month ago they showed as 46-46 with 8 undecideds, and I think their projection was 51-49 GOP. Today it’s 47-46, 7 undecideds, and a projection of 53-47 GOP. The assumption is that Georgia will go to a runoff, which Walker would win, and they’ll flip Arizona (!) and Nevada.

    Finally, a month ago they showed governors races at 25-15 GOP and projected 30 governorships to the GOP. Today is 24-14 (amazingly, both Oklahoma and New York have gone to toss-up status), but their projection is 31-19 GOP. They’re projecting the GOP to take 5 governor’s seats, with the latest, mirabile dictu, being the odious Gretchen Whitmer ousted by a virtual unknown GOP candidate.

    Against all odds, it doesn’t appear that the Republicans have managed to blow it this year. But danged if I don’t think they are winning to some degree in spite of themselves.

  6. Written as a lament, but unironically on point:

    https://www.thebulwark.com/democrats-need-to-know-what-time-it-is/

    “[Y]ou would expect that the Democrats would have had a plan for that. That they would be deploying their best and brightest to figure out how to deal with this clear and present danger.

    If so, you would be sorely mistaken.

    The Democratic nominee for governor in Arizona, Katie Hobbs, has been a dog’s breakfast served inside a dumpster fire. She’s turning over staff after getting sued by a past employee for discrimination. She is ducking debates and hiding from the press. She’s proven incapable of rhetorically taking the fight to her opponent, despite the extensive hit list to choose from. The liberal columnist for the local paper and co-chair of Biden’s campaign in Arizona have ripped her campaign. And the more prominent, popular Democrats who might aid her effort are M.I.A.”

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