Uncommon Sense

September 11, 2022

Quiet Quitting Ain’t New

The business news and some of the mainstream news sources are all abuzz about “quiet quitting.” Quiet Quitting refers to doing your job and only what’s required of you at work–nothing more and nothing less. But this ain’t new folks. It has been around for millennia. Do you think slaves were gung ho and always doing more that they were asked to do?

More recently “working to rule” was a tactic of organized labor, requiring workers to only do what was in their job descriptions (which is where some of the juicy anti-labor stories have unfairly come from).

Currently, “quiet quitting” is simply adopting the attitude that one’s employer only deserves what they hired you to do. As a labor representative, I commented over and over that people misplaced their trust and loyalty. They are loyal to their employers because they want to be employed by someone who they could be loyal to, not because their employer had earned their trust and loyalty.

But, there are any number of job sites in which you will observe no such “quiet quitting” behavior. These are sites in which the employees are not only empowered, but given a piece of the action. They are consulted regarding work rule changes. Their suggestions for improvements in processes are taken seriously. And when the whole company benefits, they benefit, too.

These companies pass Robert Reich “We-They Test.” To test a company, ask any employee how they are treated. If they refer to their bosses as “they” or “them” you know a lot about the relationship (primarily a “us and them” or “we-they” relationship). If they refer to the company as “we” or “us,” you know that that company is employee focused and employees have bought in.

And, funny thing—companies that invest in, empower, and honor their employees perform better, are more profitable, etc. Funny, hah! Company executives would rather have inflated egos than more profits, imagine that!

September 7, 2022

Oh, The Saints Come Marching in . . .

Filed under: Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 9:35 am
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In a recent post (Gods, Then and Now) I made the point that in ancient times gods were quite different from how they are viewed now. I also made the point that the Catholic Church’s maintenance of the idea of saints essentially promotes the pagan practice of praying to a particular god for a particular service, which of course, is incompatible with monotheism, but that is a big audience to just shove off of the stage, so saints it is.

September 2, 2022

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 12:50 pm
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August 26, 2022

So, You Have These Beliefs . . . BFD

Beliefs are in the news. Can we believe anything Donald Trump says, for example.

And our Supreme Court Justices (current set) are focused upon historical beliefs as if they meant anything or actually applied to anything.

And, of course, sincerely held religious beliefs are being elevated in court rooms to the status of legal trump cards.

So, you have beliefs; we all do. So what? Beliefs have existed for all of history, at least that’s what the written record shows.

So what?

In English, belief did not originally really mean belief, but something more related to beloved and people do love them some beliefs.

Again, so what?

If one were to make a list of all of the things people have believed over our history (just our history), the list would be so long no one would live long enough to be able to read it. And, well, they would probably fracture a rib laughing before they got very far.

If these things were just aspects of parlor games, we would be okay, but people seem to be hell-bent on imposing their beliefs upon others. “I believe this and so should you . . . or else!”

One of these beliefs going around is that human life begins at a conception. This nonscientific scientific pronouncement was dreamt up to support a political position based upon a religious belief that has very, very little religious support. I have posted on this recently so will not belabor the point.

You have what you think are very profound beliefs, some of which you believe are sacred. (Beliefs piled upon beliefs, oh my!) So what? People believe all kinds of things. For example:

Well, I believe in the soul … the cock …the pussy … the small of a woman’s back … the hangin’ curveball … high fiber … good scotch … that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent overrated crap…. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.” (The Immortal Crash Davis)

Currently there are millions of people who believe Donald Trump was a good president. There are other millions who believe that Donald Trump was a disaster of a president. So what?

Beliefs are a dime a dozen and that is overpaying.

If you have sincere religious beliefs . . . I don’t care. Actions speak louder than words. If you want to lead a Biblically-centered or Christ-centered life . . . I am watching what you do, but not listening to what you say you believe.

August 25, 2022

A Strategy I Perceive

I noticed that the Arizona House Speaker, Rusty Bowers, who has been in office for twenty years, lost his recent primary election after he testified before the House January 6 Committee about the 2020 election.

I remember his testimony. He said not one word critical of Donald Trump in his testimony, but apparently just being there is enough to brand him as being disloyal to Mafia Don. (Mafia Don doesn’t think subpoenas have any merit.)

This dismissal of a very competent Republican state official suggests an effective strategy. Just call as witnesses all of the remaining competent Republican elected officials to testify before that committee. There are probably just a few left, so it would be okay to include thorns in our sides like Mitch McConnell. The result will be that those people will be voted out and replaced with people whose most sterling qualification is that they are loyal, like a dog, to Donald J. Trump.

This will complete the Republican purge of their ranks of people of competence and ensure the demise of the GOP. You know, they need more people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Ron DeSantis, and Greg Abbott. Apparently people who vote for “the R” will vote in anybody, so this should work.

Sound like a plan?

August 24, 2022

The Life Begins at Conception Folks are Ignoramuses

Note—The word ignoramus has Latin roots being the first plural present indicative of ignorare “to be ignorant of”) which it is how it is being used here.

As a law professor, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett signed a statement that life began at fertilization, an embryo being a fertilized egg. This opinion alone should disqualify someone from any important office in government. It is a claim, based upon personal political desires, which are based upon personal religious beliefs (often not supported by scripture), that has nothing to do with reality.

Fertility clinics discard thousands upon thousands of abandoned embryos every year. That’s because a single round of in vitro fertilization treatment typically involves collecting 10 or more eggs with only one or two being implanted in the mother. Many countries actually require that these surplus embryos be destroyed after a certain period.

Shouldn’t states declaring embryos to be people require the clinics to preserve all unused embryos or close down? The cost of storing frozen embryos can exceed $1,000 a year.

In the opinion overturning Roe, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that abortion destroys “potential life” and the life of an “unborn human being.” Foes of contraception make the same argument, that sperm and eggs are potential life, even before they meet.

According to these people, a man masturbating is a serial killer (scattering all of those potential lives into oblivion), as are all women trying to become pregnant, because around half of all embryos don’t implant on the uterine wall and are naturally and normally aborted.

In fact, when born human females contain approximately 1 million eggs; and by the time of puberty, only about 300,000 remain. Of these, only 300 to 400 will be ovulated during a woman’s reproductive lifetime. So, God himself designed the system in which 99.96% of all human eggs are destined to be flushed.

Potential life my ass. These are people who claim life is sacred when nature abounds with myriad examples of life being disposable. Many animals birth hundreds of young which then get eaten by predators, often the males of the same species. Herd animals travel in groups so that when, (not if, when) members of the herd get brought down (and eaten alive!) the bulk of the herd survives. Trees often scatter their seeds far and wide, most of them getting eaten by birds and rodents and much of the rest either rots or gets dehydrated. As a simple conclusion, life is profligate because there is no protection, none whatsoever. If you don’t die sooner, you will die later. Where’s the fucking sacred in that?

And “unborn human being” is a bit like getting “unsweetened ice tea” in a Southern diner. Tea cannot be “unsweetened” as that would imply it was sweetened and then the process was reversed. Similarly a qualification for a human being is to be born. If you ask how old a human being is, that length of time is determined starting from the day of their birth. A one year old child is not one year and nine months old because it became human at conception.

Having Supreme Court Justices this ignorant and this unable to think clearly puts us all in peril.

August 23, 2022

Gosh Conservatives Have Been Lying About Public Schools . . . for Decades?

It is common for reformers to overstate the ills they wish to address, but this is an abomination.


August 21, 2022

What is the Opposite of a Brain Drain?

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Reason — Steve Ruis @ 11:44 am
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I first encountered the term brain drain in association with struggling countries who sent their youth to America to get an education. Many who got those educations also got jobs upon graduation, paying far better wages than those they could get back in their home countries. So, the home country was experiencing a drain on the “brains” they needed to fill critical, hard-to-fill positions in their society.

I next heard the term when “finance” started to lure away numbers geeks who typically went into the science, engineering, and technology fields with salaries far higher than they could make in their tradition feeding grounds.

But what is the opposite of a brain drain? One that involves pushing the brains out rather than having them lured away?

This is what is happening to the GOP. They are forcing out of their party competent politicians and replacing them with incompetents. If this were being done to the GOP by any organization beside itself, it would be tantamount to political war. But, so far, the wounds are all self-inflicted.

This country has a long history of electing the, shall we say, intellectually challenged, which I am sure would be shocking to our “Founding Fathers.” Those esteemed gentlemen were, how do I say this in a kindly way . . . elitists. They felt that their class was ideally positioned to lead the country politically. Possessing wealth meant they possessed the time needed, plus they also were more likely to be well educated, etc. They also had the motivation (to protect their property rights and all of the other privileges of rich, white, men). Who they feared might be attracted to political office were the “middling sort,” that is butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. And, of course, from the get-go, the middling sort started to be elected in large numbers.

The GOP is gutting their own average IQ by employing a loyalty test, loyalty not to the party, but loyalty, personal loyalty, to Donald J. Trump. Do they have any other qualifications required for office? Nope, as long as you meet the statutory minimums, and are loyal like a dog, at least to Mafia Don, you are good to go. And many of these people are people of faith. They have faith in Fox News (or at least they used to), they have faith in QAnon, the Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, and all other purveyors of wild-ass ideas for which there is no evidence whatsoever. Remember the claim that Hillary Clinton was supporting a child pornography ring from the basement of a pizza parlor, a pizza parlor that had no basement? Remember the nut jobs who claimed that the vapor trails, aka contrails (from condensation of the water in the exhaust from the jet engines), left behind by high altitude jet aircraft (in evidence since just after WW2) were “chemtrails,” spewings of toxic chemicals that were supposed to, supposed to, . . . whatever. (Of course, those toxic chemicals were a threat to everyone and couldn’t be targeted onto the enemies of whoever was supposedly doing this.)

People espousing these beliefs are now in high GOP federal office.

What political competence the GOP once had is long gone. We were aghast when we found out that GOP pols were getting lobbyists to write legislation for them. We didn’t understand then that the GOP pols couldn’t do that by themselves.

If there is a modern equivalent of Jonathan Swift, we need him or her now, to describe all of this for future generations. But, be assured, if you vote GOP, you are voting for the Rule of Idiots (I am sure there is a word for that but I don’t know it—wait a minute I do, it is called a kakistocracy, a government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens.)

August 20, 2022

Why the Second Amendment?

Since this Constitutional Amendment is so often debated without the text in front of you, here it is:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Since the current iteration of the Supreme Court is so focused upon history, let us explore the history of this Amendment.

The Founding Fathers were adamant against having a standing army. Too many times despotic rulers used standing armies to wage wars of their convenience as well as used their “troops” to oppress their own people. (Yes, gun nuts, real tyranny.) So, there was not supposed to be a standing army in this new country under this new constitution.

So, the historical basis for the Second Amendment is now baseless. It has no foundation, no justification, none.

So, what happened when the nation needed to be defended? You can see what happened by reading the history of the months preceding the start of the Civil War and the few months after. The federal government asked the states to muster their forces and send them to serve under federal leadership. Each state had its own militia (or not), you see. Standing armies were very, very expensive and the United States was basically broke after the Revolutionary War (when the Constitution was developed). The states, however, often had militias that weren’t standing armies. These were ordinary citizens who trained from time to time. And neither the states nor the federal government had the coin to arm every soldier coming their way. They depended upon the citizen-soldiers to have their own guns, which they had shot enough to be proficient with and who could also be counted upon to have a supply of gunpowder and bullets for that gun. (Note There were no standard arms at the time, so one soldier’s fifty caliber rifle would not necessary be able to use another soldier’s 50 caliber ammunition. People often carried the molds and lead needed to make their own bullets for their own rifles with them.)

So, why the Second Amendment?

The safety of the country from foreign or domestic attack was in the form of such state militias that could be “called up” in the case of invasion or insurrection. Read the history of the Civil War and the agonies associated with prying militias from the various states. And those soldiers brought their own weapons. If the federal government had to equip every soldier sent to them they would have had an army equipped with rocks and spears.

An Historical Note In preparation for the Civil War, the officers of the U.S. Army who were Southerners and would later form the officer core for the secessionists, cleaned out the few armories the Army had and shipped those arms south. So, while the Army had the capacity to equip a few thousand soldiers, the traitors preparing for the secession made sure that only the South would have that option. The northern armories were basically empty when it came time to need their contents.

So, now you can see why the Second Amendment was necessary. The Militia members had their own rifles. If a local government or a misguided federal government took those away, the country would be defenseless or near defenseless.

But, those conditions didn’t prevail after the Civil War. We now have a standing Army (and Navy, and Air Force). We now equip every soldier with standardized weapons, with standardized ammunition, etc. And we have plenty of everything stuffed into armories all over the country to equip a multitude of call ups..

So, the historical basis for the Second Amendment is now baseless. It has no foundation, no justification, none. It has been co-opted by gun nut jobs and plays no real role in the defense of this country.

August 13, 2022

Americans, Want to Know Why Your Life Sucks?

I have written on every topic in this essay, but I have never put it all together so well as has Mitchell Petersen. Well worth the read!

Charles Koch Won; We the People Lost

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