Thursday, April 29, 2010

You've Got Mail.

Or rather, I've got ... um ... I have mail. This e-mail missive came allegedly from our Internal Revenue Service today:
Dear Taxpayer,
After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $493.50.
Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it. A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline. To access your tax refund, use the form attached to this email.
Internal Revenue Service
Dear Taxpayer? What's my name?
There was a "form" attached that I was supposed to access. I was supposed to download something, to which my response is: Download this.
I knew it was phony for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the "regards" at the end and the bad punctuation. The IRS isn't concerned with my regard and they have no interest in regarding me as anything other than a source of revenue, which is what the big "R" stands for. And how, exactly are they calculating my "fiscal activity," I wondered quietly to myself? And what does "last annual calculations" mean?
If you're interested, you can reply to the e-mail provided: and give them my regards. Or, come to think of it - maybe the Federal government is dopey enough to think that I'd click on an e-mail supplied link and hand out my personal information? Yes, that's it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This wouldn't happen if kids could vote

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – A California county is stopping restaurants from using toys to lure children to high-calorie, salt-laden food such as popular "Happy Meals" hawked by fast-food giant McDonald's.
Elected officials in the county of Santa Clara, in the heart of technology center Silicon Valley south of San Francisco, voted Tuesday to enact the ban to fight an "obesity epidemic" sweeping California and the United States.
"This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys to peddle high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium kids meals," said Ken Yeager, the county supervisor behind the ban. "This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes."
Actually Ken, the unhealthy food is the prize. Parents run their kids to fast food restaurants because (a) it's cheap and (b) the kids like the food. Ken is another one of those politicians who thinks you can legislate the way people think and feel. It's why Prohibition failed and why this will also fail. Take the toy out and people will still eat the food. Why? Because they like the food. Mostly, it's because parents can't afford to take their kids out to nice places that serve um ...vegetables. They run to fast food because they have dollar menus and giant cups of cola for 75 cents. Parents eat there too, and they don't get a prize.
The restaurants are still going to be serving the high-everything meals, and taking a plastic toy out of them will merely reduce the possibility that a child will choke on a plastic toy. Congratulations for making the world safer for fat kids.
"Obesity is literally an epidemic," county public health director Dan Peddycord said in remarks to the board of supervisors.
"If food meals sold in restaurants contain too many calories, high fats, high sugars, high sodium and are attached to an incentive item like a toy, that is part of the environment we make our decision in."
Literally? Well, an epidemic is technically the spread of a disease. The big problem is that legislators think that they are fighting a disease. What they are really fighting is common sense. Unfortunately, common sense is not an epidemic.
And now, a break from the nonsense to hear a few seconds of something relevant:
Harlan Levy of McDonald's was part of a fast-food restaurant contingent that turned out to oppose the ban.
"It substitutes the county's judgment for the judgment of parents," Levy told the board. "It does nothing to address a holistic response to the problem."
For example, the ban doesn't change sedentary lifestyles that have children sitting watching television or playing video games, Levy argued.
OK, now back to the nonsense...
"It is unfair to parents and children to use toys to get them hooked on eating high-calorie, high-fat foods early in life."
Fat, salt and sugar form an addictive combination in the brain and adding a toy reward to the formula makes the habit even harder to kick, according to county health officials.
Supervisor Liz Kniss equated the fast-food meal toy ban to instituting speed limits on roads or barring cigarette smoking on commercial flights.
And we all know how successful speed limits are, don't we? That's why there are so many speeding tickets given out. Maybe if you put a prize at the end of the road, people wouldn't drive so fast?
I only wish the toy had anything to do with the food. Do you think kids would eat asparagus if you put a toy on the plate? No, they would tell you that it is gross and makes your urine smell. That's why they run to the Twinkies. Twinkies don't have toys in the box either. Neither do potato chips, sugary snacks and ice cream. Why do kids eat that stuff? Try putting a prize at the bottom of an ice cream container. That would be one soggy prize.
I suppose the politicians responsible for this irresponsible legislation think that they are doing someone a favor. It makes a nice news story and on its surface it appears to be helping. But in reality (we do deal with reality on occasion) if you opened a restaurant that served nothing but low-fat, low-calorie meals it would be out of business in less than a year. Why? Because people like this junk, and putting a prize in a box doesn't change that. When I was a kid we didn't get prizes in boxes and we still ate the crap.
Wake up.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's casual day at the ballpark - every day.

Am I the only person who finds it curious that baseball is the only game where the coach/manager wears a uniform? Football: Hoodie. Hockey & Basketball: Suit. Soccer: ... I don't know, I don't watch soccer, but I bet they aren't wearing shorts and those goofy shirts. I'd like to see a baseball manager in a suit like Connie Mack used to wear, but I'm sure the Gods of Baseball would stop that in its tracks.
Baseball is also the only game that is stopped in the middle and not completed if they can't finish it. They should play in the rain like other sports. Even golfers play in the rain to a certain extent. Suck it up, Nancy-boys. I paid $45 for a ticket, $12 to park and $7.25 for a piss-warm draft beer - you can damned well play in the rain.
And speaking of baseball ... and I was ... this little ditty over on the YouTube should be taking the Internet by storm soon, so you can say you saw it here first. Just make sure you leave your teeth in while you're watching ... Look out, Shane!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Can I get out of here illegally too?

Nobody doubts that you're human. Our big question is whether you are an American. The human part is obvious. Beyond that, it's a guessing game unless you can show us some paperwork.
PHOENIX – Arodi Berrelleza isn't one of the targets of Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration law — he's a U.S. citizen. But the 18-year-old high school student from Phoenix said he's afraid he'll be arrested anyway if police see him driving around with friends and relatives, some of them illegal immigrants.
"If a cop sees them and they look Mexican, he's going to stop me," Berrelleza said. "What if people are U.S. citizens? They're going to be asking them if they have papers because of the color of their skin."
Oh, you mean the same way young people get carded in bars because they look like they're under-aged? That's profiling too, but you don't see a group of protesters carrying signs to stop 17-year old's from being carded because they look young. They are also human.
Berrelleza's concerns were echoed at rallies in the state Saturday, a day after Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill that requires police to question people about their immigration status — including asking for identification — if they suspect someone is in the country illegally.
Groups of people protest illegal immigration legislation - and I'm guessing that they are here legally ... no? Maybe the police should start checking the protesters? Methinks thou dost protest too much.
State Sen. Rebecca Rios, a Phoenix Democrat and fourth-generation Arizonan, said she's concerned about her 14-year-old son being harassed by police because of his brown skin, black hair and dark-brown eyes.
"I don't want my son or anyone else's son targeted simply because of their physical characteristics," Rios said. "There's no reason I should have to carry around any proof of citizenship, nor my son."
Really? No reason? I have to carry around a New Jersey driver's license, which proves not only that I am a legal resident, but that I am licensed to drive a motor vehicle. Maybe Rebecca could tell me why I do not have to carry it around and represent me when I am caught without it.
The new law, which will take effect in late July or early August, was cheered by many, including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose tough crackdowns have made him a hero in the anti-illegal immigration community.
There's an anti-illegal immigration community? Seriously? Find out where they meet. That would be the best way to round them up. Check Facebook. Somebody has to clue me in on what the problem is with illegal immigration legislation. The first word is "illegal" so I'd guess that there is a law that is being violated.
We are supposed to be against anti-illegal immigration legislation because it promotes racial profiling, but what it really does is promote legal immigration, which shouldn't be an issue at all. But we live in a society that grants leniency to people because of the way they look or act and if they can prove that they are being treated differently because of the way they look, they are declared not guilty.
Almost everything in society is based on the way we look. Pregnant women are excused from doing certain things, even if we don't know them, it's obvious that they are pregnant because of the way they look. Fat people are harassed on airplanes because they take up too much room. We hold beauty pageants and award people we deem to be more attractive than others with special prizes. I suppose that's OK as long as we're giving somebody something? Just don't try to kick them out of the country because they look different - even if they aren't here legally.
We base almost every behavior on an impression of someone we see for the first time. It's a little something we call human nature. Suddenly, because there is a political angle to be pursued we have to change the way we think.
You can't legislate the way people feel, but you can legislate who is here legally, and if that requires that you carry a piece of paper, then deal with it. I do.
And if you don't have one, get the Hell out. America is crowded enough without your illegal ass.