Tag Archives: logic

Night Shrift

exhausted-kittyTom’s Law #42
Want to know who’s really in charge? Wait for the shit to go down and just watch.

Every year or so the stories briefly get featured on the evening news like a blip on a gloomy green radar screen then are as quickly forgotten. Until the next study is released or, worse, some human bodies are asploded. Now that’s news.

Think of a list of professions where you’d really like people to be fully rested and alert. Airline pilots? Air traffic control? Doctors? Truck drivers?

Nice list. Congratulations. You just came up with a list of people that we fuck the most. Logical, right?

This week, again, the issue of employee fatigue was in the news. The FAA commissioned a study on air traffic controller fatigue. The results are none too surprising. Then the government fought for four years to keep the findings secret.

“Psst. Hey dude. I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. You pay top dollar for me to conduct a study about how I’m fucking you over. Then I keep the results secret from you. Sounds like fun, right?”

What could possibly be going on here? Luckily I got a good night’s sleep.

Continue reading →

Cause of the Day #vote

vote-squeezeAt last, at last! It’s voting day at last! You see, I have a dream. It involves not having my intelligence insulted every single time I turn on the damn TV. I mean, more than usual.

For the United States it is voting day at last.

As early as tomorrow freedom will ring across the land as all the political ads will finally stop running. Yes, for once in my life, I’ll be happy to hear about side effects (up to and including death), how much money I won’t have in my retirement and garments specially designed for Americans and made in China so they can inhale whole containers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (where a pint is still 16 ounces) and finger the remote control – all at the same time!

This day brings a lot of craziness.

I’m not going to miss the ads. Let’s take a look at Measure WTF. Ostensibly this measure was brought to the ballot via the citizen initiative process. What does that mean? Most likely that paid canvassers collected the signatures. What’s that? I love the smell of democracy in the morning.

Continue reading →

No GMO

IMG_0781.JPG

It helps to know some Lonely Island to get the joke in the subject line. -Ed

The citizen initiative in Oregon that would require labeling of GMO foods is polling very tight. It’s still within the margin of error and the undecideds but the nays appear to be holding an ever-so slight lead over the ayes. It is already the most expensive initiative in Oregon’s history. The nay money is pouring in by the millions. Companies like Monsanto, PepsiCo, Mead Johnson and Dow AgroSciences. Isn’t that telling?

As this process is proceeding apace, I thought I’d take a few moments to splice one last point on this important issue.

One thing is being made excruciatingly clear. The people who make food don’t want you to know what the fuck is in there. They don’t want you to know how it’s made. They don’t want you to see how they treat animals. (See so-called Ag Gag laws.) They want to hide unpleasant-sounding ingredients, things they know you decidedly do not want to hear about, behind clever euphemisms like “natural flavors.”

Which would you rather eat? All new fortified Tasty Anus or “natural flavors.” Gosh golly gee willickers. What sounds better in your tummy?

So I thought it over and decided, what if the debate was presented like this?

Suppose I was the food industry and I invited you over to my place for dinner.

I might try to do something nice, assuming I actually gave a shit about you, and find out if you have deadly allergies, like peanuts. After all, I’m not out to kill you, right? I want you to enjoy your meal.

Maybe you tell me that you don’t like yams. Are you allergic? No. Will it kill you? No. You simply don’t like them. That’s all.

How should I react to your humble request? What are my options?

Well, I could honor you as a person and forgo the ingredient. Hahahah! Thanks for the tripe laugh! We all know that’s not gonna fucking happen. Seriously, I didn’t just fall off the pesticide-resistant turnip truck yesterday.

Don’t be so goddamned naive. My dinner is a business. It’s kill or be killed. Nothing matters except profits.

What choices does that leave me?

I could simply say, “I’m not telling. Are there yams in here? You’ll never know!!!” That’s called being a good host.

My other option is lie. Hide it. Distract. Obsfucate.

What would you do? Isn’t this a nice way to treat each other? Doesn’t this sort of attitude help make the world a better place?

I make. You eat. Shut the hell up about it. I’m your host, Mr. GMO. By the way, I can’t believe you ate that. Ha ha ha!

My lies and hate. It’s what’s for dinner.

Food For Thought: GMO Logic

beware-gmoI’m not going to make any claims here that GMO foods are dangerous. Maybe you believe they are, maybe you don’t. That’s basically the point behind efforts to label foods that contain GMO, isn’t it? We’re supposed to have faith in the ability of free markets to reach sound conclusions. (If not, we’re all doomed.) At least in theory en masse we generally get it right.

Some companies, though, seem to chafe at the bit at the bit when it comes to revealing information about what’s actually in their foods. So many “secret” ingredients and the like. So many euphemisms like “natural flavors” to avoid a detailed accounting of what’s really in there. (And happily stamped “OK” by Uncle Sam, too.)

But without information what possible decision-making can take place? I submit that a free market can’t reach those legendary conclusions in a void of data. Without the ability to weigh facts, the market must simply go where it is led by the powerful few in the know. As a general rule other people making decisions on your behalf don’t turn out all that well.

1913: 100% of corn was farmer owned. By 2013 approx. 95% was owned by corporations.
–A statistic I found all over the Internet which may or may not be real

Today, without attempting to examine real and/or imagined ills that may or may not be associated with GMO, I wish to look at a single debate point offered by those who oppose labeling. What GMO means to you should be something you investigate for yourself. See if you can, somehow, sort through all the noise and determine your own level of comfort.

I look at it like this? If given the choice of no food and dying of starvation or nom nom on some GMO most of us would probably choose the latter and take our chances. Is that the issue in a nutshell? As Earth converts farmland to condominiums and strip malls and the population continues to increase no doubt one day we’ll all be facing a question like that. (And insects. Don’t forget the edibility of insects.)

So, here in Oregon, a lot of us signed a petition and Measure 92 qualified for the ballot. It’s a measure that Oregon voters will decide this November. The aim of the measure is to mandate labeling of GMOs in food.

Naturally, now we’re being subjected to a horrifying barrage of television ads both for and against. One of the arguments against the measure kind of stuck in my craw. Let’s take a look.

Continue reading →

Random musings on #Ferguson

The #1 result in Google Images for a search of "Ferguson Missouri Police Department."

The #1 result in Google Images for a search of “Ferguson Missouri Police Department.”

I’ve been thinking about recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. I’ve been trying to control my brain and avoid leaping to conclusions.

I preface the following thoughts with this disclaimer: I’m a big fan of law enforcement. They have a tough job. They have my empathy. They have an extremely necessary function in a society that is populated with far too many assholes. We need them.

I’ve never been a cop but I know a few. I have never walked a mile in their shoes. To those who say that means I’m not entitled to my opinion or that I’m somehow unable to form cogent (but possibly erroneous) conclusions from a different vantage point, I only say this: It is possible to form conclusions without having been there first. If that wasn’t true, humans would have never been able to leave Earth and visit outer space.

Therefore, opinions and conclusions about police by non-police shouldn’t automatically be rejected out of hand on that basis alone. That would be a logical fallacy. If you want to reject ideas, find a better rebuttal than that.

Thought #1

“It is a failure of civilization when an armed person kills an unarmed person.”
Continue reading →

No Good, No Bad

moralityWhen one is an atheist in small town conservative America, one learns to play things close to the vest. Maybe later, after getting to know someone, the truth may be divulged. But it is known that premature sharing comes with a significant amount of risk. It’s a lovely place where the wrong bumper sticker will get your car keyed.

One company in that small town, named after a biblical location no less, asked about my religious beliefs during a job interview. That was my first clue that the game was afoot.

Later, when applying for another job in that same small town, my due diligence ended up freaking me out. I didn’t particularly get a good feeling from my research and, thanks to the internet, learned the owners of the company were flamboyantly religious. I was on a quest to get out of the frying pan and into the fire, so naturally I didn’t let this slow me down.

Despite shouting his religion for all to see, the man was one of the most unethical business people I’d ever met. And that’s saying a lot. He was no slouch. Yet there he was, up on the high ground, at least in his mind, looking down his nose at everyone else. Compensate much?

When office discourse finally turned to matters of politics and religion, I defiantly let fly with my disclosures. His reaction was one of thoughtfulness and class. “Atheist, eh? I have a question. Why don’t you kill people?”

Although flabbergasted by the audacity, I still think I handled it with style and aplomb, especially considering the source. “You don’t kill people because God forbids it,” I said. “I don’t kill people because I choose not to. It’s my decision.”

Booyah.

Right and wrong. Good and evil. Yin and yang. Night and day. Black and white. Betamax and VHS. DVD and Blue-ray.

But now, after assessing more empirical data, I now think, perhaps, I was a bit hasty. It’s time to bust out with yet another theory. I got a million of ’em.
Continue reading →

I’m Going To The Grocery Store

Can you see me? Click to enlarge. Source: Wikipedia.

Can you see me? Click to enlarge. Source: Wikipedia.

I’m going
I’m going
I’m going
To the grocery store!

They got edible cactus in a jar
Mixes and accessories for my bar
Breakfast cereal that comes in a box
Bagels, cream cheese and even the lox
Fruits thoughtfully sealed inside of wax
Winged feminine products sold in packs
Only forty-two varieties of Wheat Thins
Toilet paper with gels squirted in
Everything you ever needed and more
You’ll find it all at the grocery store!

A wise woman once said, “I learned a hard lesson this day. … [N]ever and I repeat NEVER EVER take Tom shopping again!!!” This person was my wife of two years ago. Not my wife of today. Apparently the two have never met.

Our story begins and ends in a grocery store…
Continue reading →