Friday, September 7, 2018

Flight Risk

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Yes, we know Trump doesn't actually drink. For which we are deeply grateful.
According to Bob Woodward's new tell-all book "Fear" and a recent New York Times op-ed which was allegedly written by "an anonymous White House official who we are totally not making up," President Donald Trump is an egotistical, mercurial boob who requires constant supervision by others to stave off disaster.


The accounts may or may not be 100% accurate, but we don't care - other than having a constant undercurrent of mild terror. Because many of us who voted for Trump, however reluctantly, knew all of this about him going in. We weren't really happy about giving the country's reins to a man whose thought process can be likened to a pinball machine, but the only other choice was inconceivably worse.

Going back to our cartoon metaphor, our plane was already in serious trouble and going down fast. Hillary Clinton would put us into a nose dive at maximum throttle, then cackle hysterically (when not coughing) all the way down to our fiery doom.

Trump, on the other hand, might seem to have a screw loose - but he had a record of somehow getting things accomplished and seemed sincere in his desire to save the day. And unlike Hillary's kamikaze scenario, Trump wouldn't be alone in the cockpit - he'd actually have a trained co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator, and others to help compensate for his inexperience and eccentricities.

Which brings us to the present. Woodward and the New York Times are reporting that dedicated White House staffers are working constantly to defuse Trump's bad ideas and help enable his good ideas - which is why this amateur President keeps racking up success after success.

In other words, we're seeing a scary process that produces good results rather than what, under Hillary, would have been a nightmarishly efficient process producing devastating results.

That doesn't strike us as being an entirely bad thing. Especially if the in-flight turbulence doesn't get bad enough to keep the flight attendant from rolling that drink cart our way on a regular basis.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Greatest Sham on Earth

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To the surprise of pretty much no one, the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh erupted in shouts, shrieks, motions, emotions, and parliamentary nonsense before the judge's name was even announced.

Democrats, in what apparently was a pre-planned move to sabotage the proceedings, called for immediate adjournment in order to give them more time to slowly and thoughtfully pore over every word ever written by or about the nominee - a rather odd change of pace for the party which heretofore embraced the "pass it to see what's in it" policy of avoiding any actual reading.

Fetus-hating hecklers, sadly deprived of their pussy hats, also screamed hysterically from the gallery before being dragged out forcibly by security personnel, prompting Democrat Dick Durbin to admiringly characterize their shrill attacks as "the noise of Democracy." A noise which we think might be well matched with the ball-gag of decorum.

The hearings have a long way to go, but we're off to a predictably ridiculous and depressing start to a process which should be conducted with a degree of solemnity and seriousness of purpose. The very qualities we're hoping to see Judge Kavanaugh bring to the Supreme Court as soon as possible.


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America's ongoing quest to always have something to be hyperventilating about has temporarily been satisfied by the announcement that Nike has named Colin "Kneepads" Kaepernick as their newest "Just Do It" spokesperson. Which is more than a little ironic, considering he wouldn't take that simple advice when it came to showing respect for our national anthem.

Nike's choice of Kaepernick certainly generated the publicity they were hoping for, but has also caused a few minor drawbacks. Specifically, a nearly $4 billion drop in their stock market value as well as a boom in highly entertaining Youtube videos in which people find creative ways to set Nike products on fire.

We also find a certain irony in Nike's desire to use Kaepernick to demonstrate their sense of "woke" social consciousness, considering that any of the underpaid sweatshop laborers who make their products overseas would probably be flogged senseless for staging a knee-bending protest during working hours.

But in the immortal words of Rhett Butler, we frankly don't give a damn about Nike, Kaepernick, or the horse they rode in on. And as far as a boycott of Nike products go, we enthusiastically say "Just do it."

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Jarlsberg Diaries: Labor Day Memories

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Today is Labor Day, a national holiday on which we celebrate the labor unions which have improved working conditions and pay so dramatically that the actual jobs now go to illegal aliens, because that's the only way for many manufacturers to keep from going out of business.

Not that it's our intention to bash unions today! Over the years, they've accomplished many positive things and put an end to some horrific working conditions. If you doubt us, try looking up some vintage photos of 8-year old coal miners and then try to get their eyes and faces out of your nightmares.

That being said, our personal experience working in a union shop left us with a highly negative attitude. It was in the early 1970's, and we had to join the United Auto Workers to work at a Ford factory in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was a summer job to earn college money, and we were moved around from assignment to assignment to cover for vacationing employees.

Our first position was a night shift driving a forklift. The work was simple enough - transporting pallets of materials from one place to another. The problem was that there wasn't nearly enough work to fill the hours. When we asked the foreman what we should be doing to put in 8 hours of productivity, we were A) glared at for being a college-boy asshole and B) told that we should find a place to hide and sleep through the shift like everyone else did.

It seems the other forklift drivers did their work in the first hour, then retreated to hideaways inside stacks of boxes where there were makeshift beds, Playboy pinups, and the all-important alarm clocks which told our fellow workers when it was time to wake up and go home. Our Protestant work ethic wouldn't allow us to do this (not to mention our fear of being crushed by falling stacks of crates "accidentally" tipped by our coworkers) so we were soon moved to daytime work on the assembly line.

This particular assembly line was for building steering columns. Every nine seconds, a unit would roll slowly by and we'd perform one quick operation on it...then move on to the next and the next and the next. There was nothing challenging about getting our contribution done in nine seconds (the union had established that this was exactly the maximum amount of work a laborer could do)...but we soon learned there was a complication.

Every man on the line not only knew how to do his own job, but also his neighbor's job within that nine second window (and without breaking a sweat). And so one man would come in every morning, punch in for himself and the second worker (who was still at home in bed) and do both jobs until lunchtime. Then the second man came in and the first man left for the day - with both time cards punched out at the end of the shift. Management knew this, but didn't dare challenge the union.

The "half day, full pay" scam eventually reached its logical conclusion when two geniuses sharing job duties figured out that neither of them would have to come in if they simply had a third guy punching their time cards in and out. And that's what they did for a long time.

And it worked out great until people driving Fords started dying because their cars suddenly veered out of control owing to the missing part in the steering column.

A massive recall followed, millions of dollars were paid in liability settlements and, of course, the two workers who were to blame were fired.


Yes, the UAW got them their jobs back. So fire up your grills, have a great Labor Day and for the love of all that's holy drive carefully.