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Posts Tagged ‘Political Correctness’

“Winston, come into the dining room, it’s time to eat,” Julia yelled to her husband.

“In a minute, Honey, it’s a tie score,” he answered, stalling for time. Actually Winston wasn’t very interested in the traditional holiday football game between Detroit and Washington. Ever since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its “unseemly violence” and the “bad example it sets for the rest of the world,” Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be. Two-hand touch wasn’t nearly as exciting. Also, games got even more boring after the Federal Fairness Department put out a mandate in 2019 that all contests end with tie scores.

His delay was more caused by the unappealing thought of eating another TofuTurkey. Even though it was the best type of VeggieMeat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally-forbidden foods, (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce and mince-meat pie), it wasn’t anything like real turkey. And ever since the government officially changed the name of “Thanksgiving Day” to “A National Day of Atonement” in 2020 to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims’ historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster.

Eating in the dining room was also a bit daunting. The unearthly gleam of government-mandated fluorescent light bulbs made the TofuTurkey look even weirder than it actually was, and the room was always cold. Ever since Congress passed the Power Conservation Act of 2016, mandating all thermostats-which were monitored and controlled by the electric company-be kept at 68 degrees, every room on the north side of the house was barely tolerable throughout the entire winter.

Still, it was good getting together with family. Or at least most of the family. Winston missed his mother, who passed on in October, when a Medicare panel ruled that the treatment she needed was “not effective.” . He had many heated conversations with the Regional Health Consortium (spawned when the private insurance market was driven into bankruptcy and everyone was forced into the government health care program), especially since former Senator Harry Reid and Barbara Streisand got special waivers to receive the very same treatment. But it was a futile effort. “The RHC’s resources are limited,” explained the government bureaucrat Winston spoke with on the phone. “Your mother received all the benefits to which she was entitled. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Ed couldn’t make it either. He had forgotten to plug in his electric car last night, the only kind available after the Anti-Fossil Fuel Bill of 2021 outlawed the use of the combustion engines-for everyone but government officials. The fifty mile round trip was about ten miles too far, and Ed didn’t want to spend a frosty night on the road somewhere between here and there.

Thankfully, Winston’s unemployed brother, John, and his wife were flying in, thanks to a budget increase in federal flight coupons for the disadvantaged. Winston couldn’t understand, however, why they wanted to make the trip. He had stopped flying, both because environmental taxes had tripled ticket prices and because it became too painful after the government-mandated cavity searches at airports, which severely aggravated his hemorrhoids. Ever since a terrorist successfully smuggled a cavity bomb onto a jetliner, the TSA told Americans the added “inconvenience” was an “absolute necessity” in order to stay “one step ahead of the terrorists.”

Not that his decision to avoid airplanes mattered ever since the government expanded their scope to just about anywhere a crowd gathered, via the Anti-Profiling Act of 2022. That law made it a crime to single out any group or individual for “unequal scrutiny,” even when probable cause was involved. Thus, cavity searches at malls, train stations, bus depots, etc., etc., had become almost routine. Almost.

The Supreme Court is reviewing the statute, but most Americans expect a Court led by Chief Justice Elena Kagan to approve the law. ” Europe has had laws like this one for years. We should learn from their example,” she said.

Winston’s thoughts turned to his own children. He got along fairly well with his 12-year-old daughter, Brittany, mostly because she ignored him. Winston had long ago surrendered to the idea that she could text anyone at any time, even during Atonement Dinner. Their only real confrontation had occurred when he tried to limit her to 50,000 texts a month, explaining that was all he could afford. But the matter was settled when she successfully filed a grievance with one of the caseworkers at the Child Rights Office.

His 16-year-old son, Jason, was another matter altogether. Perhaps it was the constant bombarding he got in public school that global warming , the bird flu , terrorism or any of a number of other calamities were “just around the corner,” but Jason had developed a kind of nihilistic attitude that ranged between simmering surliness and outright hostility. It didn’t help that Jason had reported his father to the police for smoking a cigarette in the house, an act made criminal by the Smoking Control Statute of 2018, which outlawed smoking anywhere within 500 feet of another human being. Winston paid the $5000 fine, which might have been considered excessive before the American dollar became virtually worthless as a result of QE13. The latest round of quantitative easing the federal government initiated was, once again, to “spur economic growth.” This time they promised to push unemployment below its years-long rate of 18%, but Winston was not particularly hopeful.

Yet the family had a lot for which to be thankful, Winston thought, before remembering it was a Day of Atonement . At least he had his memories. He felt a twinge of sadness when he realized his children would never know what life was like in the Good Old Days, long before government promises to make life “fair for everyone” realized their full potential. Winston, like so many of his fellow Americans, never realized how much things could change when they didn’t happen all at once, but little by little, so people could get used to them.

He wondered what might have happened if the public had stood up while there was still time, maybe back around 2011, when there was still time to change. “Maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today if we’d just said ‘enough is enough’ when we had the chance,” he thought.

Maybe so, Winston. Too bad you let us down…

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The contest between the United States and Europe for dumb public policy is always hard to judge. The Europeans tend to make more policy mistakes, though Obama certainly is giving them some stiff competition. America, by contrast, is prone to really inane bouts of political correctness. But perhaps the Europeans are catching up in that area.

Here’s something, for example, that sounds like it could have happened in San Francisco. The European Commission (the über bureaucracy of the European Union) sent out 3 million calendars to kids that mentioned significant holidays for the Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu religions, but omitted Christmas. Here’s an excerpt from the U.K.-based Guardian.

Italy has demanded that the European Commission recall millions of diaries that are being distributed to schoolchildren throughout the EU because they do not mention Christmas but they do give the dates of other religions’ festivals, such as Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, and Sikh, Hindu and Chinese feast days. …A Commission spokeswoman said it had “realised the absence of some important European religious holidays, in particular Christmas”. …But she gave no indication that Brussels would accede to Frattini’s demand to recall the diaries, which, according to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, was contained in a letter to the commission’s president, Jose Manuel Barroso. …Some 3 million copies of the latest edition of the Europe Diary have been sent to schools. The commission’s spokeswoman said its main purpose was “inform young Europeans as consumers and citizens on issues like rights, choices as consumers [and] climate change”. …The commission…spokeswoman said it had cost €5.5m (£4.6m).

Being a fiscal policy wonk, I don’t worry too much about the War on Christmas. Yes, political correctness is nauseating, but it’s not as if the government is actually using coercion to stamp out Christmas. When I read stories like this, what catches my attention instead are disturbing details such as the hefty price tag of $7.2 million. Why is the European Commission squandering so much money on calendars? And once a decision has been made to waste money, why leave out Christmas? And why did they include extraneous material such as global warming propaganda?

Perhaps the moral of this story is that governments – and international bureaucracies such as the EC – have an amazing ability to squander money. Sometimes they waste money for PC reasons, sometimes for vote-buying reasons, and sometimes for corruption. All we know for sure is that taxpayers get lumps of coal in their stockings.

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This post could be entitled, “So many dumb bureaucrats, so little time,” but let’s have some fun and turn it into a contest. Which bone-headed decision by a local government best exemplifies mindless bureaucracy, politically correct nonsense, and government waste?

Contestant Number One is Sgt Brian Albert of the Baltimore County Natural Resources Police, who fined two men $90 each for the vicious, horrible, nasty crime of …(please don’t faint)… rescuing a deer. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. Two hardened criminals used an inflatable raft to free a helpless animal, but they flouted the law by not wearing life jackets. Since I already did a blog post about a man being fined for rescuing a wounded deer, I guess the moral of the story is that bureaucrats don’t like Bambi.

Contestant Number Two is the Metro Police in Washington, DC, which has decided to harass random travelers by searching their bags before they board the subway. This is akin to the TSA’s mindless bureaucracy – but even worse. There surely are nut-jobs who would like to blow up Americans, but they could do that on a bus, on a crowded street during rush hour, or any other place where a large number of people are gathered. Heck, they can drive a car into a crowd. Good intelligence by the CIA and FBI is the way to stop these crackpots, not empty security theater that makes life more difficult for law-abiding people.

Contestant Number Three is the St. Paul School District in Minnesota, which has turned all schools into “sweet-free zones.” This ban also applies to salty foods, however that is defined, and deals “a blow to booster clubs and parent organizations, too, which won’t be able to sell hot chocolate, doughnuts, candy bars and cookies at school events.” I actually agree with Michelle Obama that American kids are overweight, but I also know that government intervention isn’t going to solve the problem unless we want a police state that bans video games, TVs, computers, and the other technological developments that are responsible for sedentary kids.

Contestant Number Four is Battlefield High School, in Haymarket, VA, which disciplined 10 unrepentant gang members. What did these thugs do to warrant detention? Brace yourself and make sure no children are looking over your shoulders, because these hoodlums belong to a particularly nasty group called the Christmas Sweater Club and they got in trouble for handing out miniature candy canes. One school administrator (Mrs. Grinch?)  explained that “not everyone wants Christmas cheer,” thus turning Jay Leno’s parody into reality.

So who wins the prize? I’m not technologically advanced enough to include a poll with this question, so the only thing we can really conclude is that governments do dumb things. That’s true at the national level, the state level, and the local level.

I just wish I could write like Dave Barry. He had a hilarious column many years ago that was based on various examples of government stupidity. This post is more likely to make you cry rather than laugh, which is not good at this time of year. Nonetheless, feel free to comment if you think one of these stories stands out.

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There is a famous statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller, who was imprisoned by Hitler’s National Socialist regime and barely survived the concentration camps.

They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Niemöller’s statement teaches us that we should guard against government oppression, even when we are not the target, because it may be just a matter of time before the goons of the state shift their attention to us.

Nothing can compare to the horrors of Hitler’s National Socialists or the brutality of various communist regimes, so I certainly do not want to imply any moral equivalence, but I can’t help but thinking about what Niemöller said as I contemplate the various hare-brained proposals being imposed on people by San Francisco’s nanny-state buffoons.

Last week, I put up a post about the city banning Happy Meals toys. That certainly seemed absurd, but the craziness is reaching new levels with a possible referendum on banning circumcisions.

One city resident is proposing a ballot measure that would ban circumcision in the City, according to the San Francisco Examiner. If passed in November 2011, the measure would change San Francisco’s police code “to make it a misdemeanor to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the foreskin, testicle or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18.” The punishment for those who choose to cut away anyway would be up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison.

What’s next, mandatory sensitivity classes? Morning calisthenics with the exercise police? Banning leather belts? Is there any limit once we acquiesce to the notion that other people have the right to tell us how to live our lives?

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Reason TV has a new video in their great Nanny-of-the-Month series. The winner is a San Francisco politician who pushed through legislation to ban restaurants like McDonald’s from including toys in happy meals.

Here’s a great idea: How about banning politicians from trying to tell us how to live our lives? Our Founding Fathers surely would agree, but I guess that’s asking too much in the modern era. But is it too much to ask that maybe politicians focus on real issues, such as undoing the mistakes they’ve already made?

If Supervisor Mar really cares about his city, he should be pushing legislation to reduce excessive pay, benefits, and pensions for bureaucrats. These are the policies that are pushing San Francisco closer to fiscal collapse with each passing day. When the city declares bankruptcy, I don’t think the average person will be overly concerned about whether McDonald’s is offering happy meals.

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This is something that could only happen in San Francisco. The city’s bureaucrats are considering a proposal to ban selling pets. Oops, I just committed a thought crime. They are called “companion animals,” not pets. Anyhow, the plan to ban them would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors. Whether this happens will be a test of just how crazy the city is.

Sell a guinea pig, go to jail.

That’s the law under consideration by San Francisco’s Commission of Animal Control and Welfare. If the commission approves the ordinance at its meeting tonight, San Francisco could soon have what is believed to be the country’s first ban on the sale of all pets except fish.

That includes dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards and nearly every other critter, or, as the commission calls them, companion animals.

…San Francisco residents who want a pet would have to go to another city, adopt one from a shelter or rescue group, or find one through the classifieds.

The Board of Supervisors would have final say on the matter. But not before pet store owners unleash a cacophony of howling, squeaking and squawking.

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Having played sports all my life and having been involved in sporting events with my kids, I’m a big believer in practicing and teaching sportsmanship. Simply stated, you ease up on a team once you have a big lead. But sportsmanship, like other virtues, is not something that should be imposed – especially when the goal is to foster a false sense of self esteem. That’s why the new rules from a Canadian soccer league turning big victories into defaults are so absurd. Here’s a blurb from the National Post:

In yet another nod to the protection of fledgling self-esteem, an Ottawa children’s soccer league has introduced a rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will lose by default. …Kevin Cappon said…the league’s new rule will coddle sore losers. …Kevin’s father, Bruce Cappon, called the rule ludicrous. “I couldn’t find anywhere in the world, even in a communist country, where that rule is enforced,” he said. …“Everybody wants a close game, nobody wants blowouts, but we don’t want to go by those farcical rules that they come up with,” he said. “Heaven forbid when these kids get into the real world. They won’t be prepared to deal with the competition out there.” Paul Cholmsky, whose four- and six-year-old boys play in the league, said the intended goal of a default-lose rule might backfire in teaching life skills. “If there’s one team that’s consistenly dominant and one team that’s not, well, that’s life,” he said. …Mr. Cale said the league’s 12-person board of directors is not trying to take the fun out of the game, they are simply trying to make it fair. The new rule, suggested by “involved parents,” is a temporary measure that will be replaced by a pre-season skill assessment to make fair teams.
http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/06/01/win-a-soccer-game-by-more-than-five-points-and-you-lose-ottawa-league-says/  

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