USPS: model of efficiency

Last Saturday I had to send a package that needed to get there by Monday. Unluckily for me, Monday was Columbus day and the U.S. Post Offices were closed. No deliveries. But the clerk told me I could get a Monday “holiday” delivery by 3:00 pm. I took it. Well, the package didn’t get there.

So yesterday I took the receipt to the post office to get a refund. She went into the back to confirm the package was late. She came back and said she would be glad to give me a refund but I needed the copy of the shipping label. This was strange because she had a receipt with the tracking number, shipping date, and delivery guarantee, but that didn’t matter. She need the shipping label that contained all the same information. Sigh.

Thankfully, I had the shipping label in the car. I went out to the car and came back with the label. Of course there were a couple people in front of me in line by the time I got back. I eventually ended up back with the same clerk. At least I didn’t have to explain the whole story to someone else. The shipping label satisfied her and she started the process for the refund.

This is where it gets funny. She had me fill out a refund form. While I was doing that, the clerk told me that because of the amount of the refund, she had to pay me with a money order. Annoying, but I realized she didn’t make the rules. No use yelling at her for it.

She then used the form I filled out to complete the money order. She had to write my name, address, reason for the money order, and then run it through a printer to fill in the amount.

As she is doing this she tells me, “I can cash this for now you if you would like.”

“Um, OK.”

She apologized, “I know it is crazy, but this is the way we have to do it.”

Then she asked to see my ID to make sure I was the person she just filled out the money order for. Really.

And that is an example of how the USPS has reached its current level of efficiency.

The hypocrisy of unions

I laughed until I had tears in my eyes.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Working Stiffed
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Are corporations evil and greedy? Some are. Are unions evil and greedy – universally, yes. The problem with turning to unions to protect workers from corporate greed is that the unions are even greedier.

I was eligible to join the NEA when I began my new job. This is a good example of why I declined.

“Right wing” violence

Crooks and Liars points to an appalling story out of Nashville yesterday. A (clearly disturbed) man repeatedly rammed another car because it displayed an Obama bumper sticker. A father and his 10-year old daughter were in the car that was rammed. Police arrested Harry Weisiger for felony reckless endangerment.

It should not even be necessary to state how conservatives (including me) condemn this violence. The guy in this story should be locked away for a long time. But here is how Crooks and Liars spins it.

As hate radio, corporate right wing media and GOP politicians ramp up the violent rhetoric against Democrats, the nutjobs who follow them like zombies are becoming more and more unhinged and posing a threat to society. Case in point – a man so enraged by seeing an Obama/Biden bumper sticker on a car that he repeatedly rammed his SUV into it, while a 10 year old girl was inside

C&L provides no support for its claim that “hate radio” (i.e. talk radio), “corporate right wing media (i.e. Fox News), and GOP politicians have used violent rhetoric. No mainstream conservative media outlets have called for violence. Not a single GOP politician has said that Democrats should be assaulted. They universally condemn it.

That is a stark contrast to what happened during the last administration when The Late Show on CBS placed a graphic claiming “Snipers Wanted” over a video of George W. Bush, or the myriad calls for Bush assassinations during left wing protests.

Radicals are on both sides of politics. That is why I believe the political spectrum is circular, not linear. Radicals on both sides converge.

I can’t help but be just as concerned with Crooks and Liars solution to the violence that has become typical of the left: a call for censorship of political views it disagrees with. From the story, “Apparently, that’s what it will take before we see some form of crackdown on the violent propaganda being thrown around by Republican politicians and their media outlets. ”

A crackdown on Republican politicians and “media outlets”? C&L makes this call for action just one day after Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez arrested the last independent TV channel owner in his country. When silencing of the opposition is considered necessary, we are no longer free.

Anti-freedom Democrats – Part IV

Yesterday, California U.S. House representative Lynn Woolsey (D) wrote an article for Politico in which she suggested that the Catholic Church’s tax exempt status should be revoked because the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) took the moral stance of objecting to a health care bill that would force tax payers to fund abortions.

She also made the false claim that the bishop’s position was funded by taxpayers because of the church’s tax exempt status. Wrong. Not forcibly confiscating money of religious organizations is not the same thing as the government giving money to those organizations.

The church has the right to speak out on moral issues even though Democrats increasingly don’t like it. Woolsey’s suggestion to punish the Catholic Church for exercising its rights is yet another warning sign that the left does not respect religious freedom.

The Nobel joke

Obama’s response acknowledges his lack of accomplishment:
“I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership. I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”

Alfred Nobel set up the Peace Prize in his will to be awarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

The purpose of the prize is notably not a “call to action.” It is intended to be a recognition of accomplishment.

Here’s a look at one of the other 172 nominees for the 2009 Peace Prize:

A bipartisan group of six members of the U.S. Congress have nominated humanitarian Greg Mortenson of Bozeman for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mortenson, 51, founder of the Central Asia Institute and co-author of the bestselling book “Three Cups of Tea,” has built nearly 80 schools, especially for girls, in remote areas of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past 15 years.

Instead of giving the prize to a man who has built schools in remote areas where education had been denied to young girls, the committee gives it to a man who has to concede that he has done nothing that deserves the prize. His prize is for what he might do in his “call to action.”

Stomach churning.

Obama sycophancy and backlash

The Nobel Committee confirmed it is completely detached from reality by awarding President Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace prize. This prize is so much of a joke that the press in attendance literally gasped at the announcement of the totally undeserved award.
The AP notes:

Many observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline and has yet to yield concrete achievements in peacemaking.

Some around the world objected to the choice of Obama, who still oversees wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has launched deadly counter-terror strikes in Pakistan and Somalia.

Even the New York Times questions the award:

Reporters at a news conference to announce the prize pressed the committee’s chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, to explain the reasons Mr. Obama had prevailed over other candidates who included human rights activists in China and Afghanistan and political figures in Africa.

Specifically, reporters asked whether Mr. Obama might not become mired in a war in Afghanistan as Lyndon B. Johnson was in Vietnam.

But the committee said it wanted to enhance Mr. Obama’s diplomatic efforts so far rather than anticipate events in the future.

So this award is not about peace at all. The Nobel committee has admitted it is awarded to promote Obama as if their prize has the ability to grant credibility. Now those Iranians will take him seriously and drop their nuclear ambitions. After all, Obama now has a peace prize!

We have known for quite a while that the Nobel Peace Prize no longer has anything to do with the promotion of peace. After all this is the group that gave the same prize to Al Gore for writing a book for of false environmental claims.

The shocker here is seeing how the press that has unabashedly supported Obama to the point of actively suppressing bad news about his policies sees the Peace Prize award as undeserved. The press is even saying, “we love Obama and even we see this as a travesty.” That is how bad this award is.

Update: Best response I have seen so far – Where is Kanye West when you need him?

Lying for “the truth?”

So I had another drive-by spammer hit my blog today. This time he seems to be generally anti-Christian rather than specifically anti-Catholic.

Now I doubt this person will ever come back to this blog, the spammers never do. So I sent a message to the email address he submitted on his comment. Of course it bounced back as a bad address. Hardly a surprise. But that confirms yes, when submitting a link that would reveal “the truth” about Christianity, he lied about his email address. Needless to say, I put as much stock in the info on his link as I do in his method of lying for the truth.

Maine fining Christian organization

Three is a pattern. Add Maine to the list.

Elaine Thibodeau of the State of Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation has sent a letter to the Christian Action Network (CAN) in which they were told to pay a fine totaling $4,000 for not being properly registered in the state as a fund-raising organization and for improperly using the name of Maine’s governor in its fund-raising letter.

CAN says they were properly registered and have the canceled checks that Maine cashed to prove it. As far as using the governor’s name, telling people to write the governor does not imply the governor supports CAN’s position.

Most telling is that Thibodeau claims that CAN’s fund-raising letter “contained an inflammatory anti-Muslim message.”

Think about what that says. The state of Maine says that CAN (or anyone else) is not allowed to send a letter that contains an inflammatory anti-Muslim message. Certain Islamic sects and the U.N. agree with that, but it is not consistent with our constitutionally protected rights in this country. We have the right to make inflammatory anti-anything messages.

If there was any doubt there there is a trend to erode our rights in this country, there should not be any doubt now. First Connecticut, then California’s speaker, now Maine. Christians are a special focus in this trend. We must not be intimidated into being silenced.

What Bill of rights? (II)

The LA Times published an interview with the Speaker of the California Assembly last Saturday. One response with from her is particularly telling:

How do you think conservative talk radio has affected the Legislature’s work?

The Republicans were essentially threatened and terrorized against voting for revenue. Now [some] are facing recalls. They operate under a terrorist threat: “You vote for revenue and your career is over.” I don’t know why we allow that kind of terrorism to exist. I guess it’s about free speech, but it’s extremely unfair.

Again we see a Democrat who does not understand democracy. She refers to free speech as terrorism. More importantly, she does not even understand that what she is actually bemoaning is the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. That means if we don’t like the government raising our taxes, we are constitutionally protected when we contact our legislators and tell them we will not vote for them if they raise those taxes.

We are in danger of losing our freedoms when people like California’s Speaker keep getting put back into office. Thankfully, she is up against a term limit and cannot be re-elected next year. This is why term limits are necessary.

(Hat tip: Hot Air)

I’ve bought my last EA game.

Last week about protesters demonstrated in front of the Electronic Entertainment Expo against the release of Electronic Arts video game Dante’s Inferno.

The protesters, who came from a church in Ventura County, held signs with slogans such as “trade in your playstation for a praystation” and “EA = anti-Christ” as they marched and handed out a homemade brochure that warns, “a video game hero does not have the authority to save and damn… ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE. and he will not judge the sinners who play this game kindly.”

See? Those crazy Christians are radicals. They get all offended over a video game. No reason to take them seriously. In fact, you should go out and buy this video game just to show them how backward their beliefs are.

But wait a minute. Yesterday, EA revealed that they were behind the protest. They hired a marketing company to create a viral marketing campaign. They even created a tacky web site and paid the E3 protesters to pose as Christians and act outraged.

I can’t help but notice that there was so little concern from Christians over this game that EA had to manufacture the fake outrage. Religious bigotry has come so far that one of the largest video game producers embraces it as a tactic to sell video games. But how backward is that?

Christians are a huge market segment in this country. Why not embrace them? Dante’s inferno uses the most famous Christian epic poem in history for its inspiration. The idea of the video game is to battle and defeat demons. Sure, the game will not have much theological value, but the idea of defeating evil is one that appeals to Christians. Instead of making Christians into villains to exploit, EA should view them as potential buyers. EA has shown me what they actually think of Christians and it isn’t a good picture.