Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bullety Stuff, Sunday Edition

Friday, July 14, 2017

Goodbye, Moo

The toughest little dog I ever met. The biggest heart. She survived Montana winters without shelter. She killed songbirds and gave them to us, as if to say, "today, we eat!". She barked me in to the house, and out from it. She bit my calves to keep me from leaving the room. She taught me so much about dogs.

And now she is gone, a week ago yesterday, the fatal injection after days without eating, in our home and among friends and family. The house still seems empty without her.

Goodbye, Moo. I will always love you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dumb Polls And The Value Of College

Pew recently released the results of a poorly-worded poll showing that Republicans now believe that college is a net detriment to the nation. The poll did not inquire about particulars of why this might be, e.g. the crippling debt colleges bequeath their inmates. There is a cost-benefit tradeoff that is simply not getting done on college sheepskins, in the main. University professors, and more importantly, the vampire army of administrators hiding behind them count on the anesthetic of widespread American cultural approval of college as a means unto itself. Consequently, a lot of degrees end up providing poor returns on the substantial sums required to get them. Pretending that college is an unalloyed good in this way is deeply dangerous, as the ranks of young people with poor job prospects and mountains of debt show.

Despite the weak wording of the poll, the answers hint at who might think of colleges as a negative thing, and why. It is simply undeniable that academia remains one of the serious redoubts of Marxism in the west; there are things so stupid only a college professor can believe them. As they age, the academics and academia more broadly have become increasingly illiberal: legal racial segregation, a modern Jim Crow, now finds its primary impulse, not in the rural south, but in places like UC Berkeley and CSU Los Angeles, both of which operate black-only dorms. Students employ the heckler's veto to disinvite heterodox speakers from campus. Title IX, originally designed to provide gender equity in things like college sports, now is used to peddle false, hysterical tales of rampant campus sexual violence, fueling witch hunts pursuing chimerical dating fiascoes, ruining the lives of young men whose accusers may never be known or confronted; such young men have no right to legal counsel or due process. Modern women's studies programs are home to one of the most pernicious, anti-scientific lies ever told, the idea of humans as a "blank slate". That is, they promote the notion that there are no distinctly male and female behaviors and modes of thinking driven by biology, but that all these things result exclusively or primarily from social conditioning. You will look in vain in any of their supposed scholarly papers for reference to anyone doing work with functional magnetic resonance imaging, or evolutionary biology; it as if they operated in an academic silo.

So it is entirely comprehensible why people might look upon the university today as a horrifically expensive, self-indulgent, and even dangerous institution. Academia has become a haven for progressive dogma. It is deeply intolerant of divergent opinions. And it has the mammoth support of the Federal government.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Letter to David Noe, General Manager Of Rev-A-Shelf, LLC

Sent to David Noe, General Manager of Rev-A-Shelf, LLC this morning:
I have ordered three of your products for our kitchen, two of which have not fulfilled the basic requirement of fitting in the minimum advertised depth. The first was a clear manufacturing error (installed on slides at least two inches too long for the space, and so large they broke through the provided shipping box) and was replaced. The second, more vexing issue is with a 4WCSC-1835DM-2 two-bin drawer that extends approximately 3/16” past the limit of the 21-3/4” depth it is supposed to fit in. I have been in contact with Joe Dowdle in your customer service department, and have provided him with photos of the product and the obvious problem we have with it. He has twice told me he would get in touch with manufacturing and would call back, but never did. When I contacted him today, he didn’t even know my phone number (which I provided in my initial email on the subject) or email address (which he would have known had he kept it).

Frankly, your customer service is atrocious. It is simply inconceivable that for an organization this large you don’t have a trouble ticket system for dealing with such issues that retains such basic information as customer contact data (he didn’t remember that), product model (neither that), description of the problem (also forgotten), and history of the problem (nope) with its resolution. This is the third call I have had to initiate to get this resolved one way or another. It’s clear your company is shipping defective products; whether you care to rectify that situation will tell how much longer you stay in business.
In response, I got an autoresponder saying he would be out of the office until June 12. SRSLY.

Update 16:29 CDT: After sending this and posting it to Rev-A-Shelf's Facebook page and Twitter account, I heard back from a very contrite Mr. Dowdle. He at last determined that the issue was a manufacturing change that altered the depth requirement, which had not been propagated to the customer-facing parts of the company, including the website and resellers. He apologized for the delay as well. I also received a call from a woman who identified herself as the head of customer service for Rev-A-Shelf, and she, too, apologized. She also told me that she was surprised to learn that he had said they had no trouble ticket management system, because the company uses Salesforce internally.  Clearly if they have it, their support people aren't using it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

California's Single-Payer Delusion

I somehow managed to miss Colorado's rejection of a single-payer system by a stupendous 80-20% margin in last November's election, with overall tax hikes that would have amounted to a 7% increase on employers and 3% on employees. This followed Vermont's quiet rejection of single-payer on cost grounds back in 2014. Apparently this hasn't fazed California lawmakers, who continue to pretend that the most politically popular fantasy among naive Democrats isn't also impossibly expensive. Particularly, they appear to be soft-pedaling the reality that their proposed system will dwarf all other state expenditures by a factor of nearly four, leaving me to wonder who they will bludgeon to make the whole thing work.

Look, I get it — medicine is expensive, customer service sucks, and nobody can figure out pricing. But that doesn't mean shoveling the mess onto the state will fix those problems. It's not only naive to believe as much, it's incomprehensible: you can't fix costs without dealing with the physician shortage, patent abuse and regulatory moats, and a mess of other, related problems. Single-payer is basically saying, "hey, those things are terrible — and we should totally pay those guys their extortionate fees so nobody at the point of sale has to." It turns Martin Shkreli from a robber baron into just another guy making money in medicine.

Update 2017-05-23: Reason says the figure is only twice the overall state budget. Win!