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Since I began working at Hewlett Packard five months ago, I have been moved to a different area, the Materials Compatibility Lab, where I test exactly that, the compatibility of printer cartridge components with one another.

My trainer was an incompetent young woman who has further lowered my estimation of humanity. Not only is she incompetent, she is utterly unaware of it, and doesn't care if she does things wrong. She is unwilling to do her job, let alone do it correctly, and when she does manage to do anything, she generally spends far more time than necessary on the job and still gets 10% of what she does wrong. Given that the acceptable error rate would be approximately .1%, this should give you an idea of just how far off she was.

At long last, she has been... removed. Not fired, but put into another lab with fewer responsibilities, because my boss is unwilling to do the correct thing and rid himself of her. While we may not get someone actually competent out of a new hire, we will, at least, get someone who might care about being incompetent.

But it is not just her. Everyone around me is slower than I am. They do their work less efficiently than they could and should, and are unwilling or unable to improve things.

Back when I was very young, I thought everyone else was as intelligent as I was, and those who fell behind were simply being lazy, not unable but unwilling to do what was expected of them. As it turns out, this was a product of my environment of being around gifted children, as almost everyone I interacted with was - when all you deal with are people who are significantly above average, you come to have a different point of view.

Late in high school, I took a jewelery class because I was interested. It was there I was first exposed to people who would never amount to anything. They lacked the capacity. It hurt me to see them, and it was at this point my mother said (though she denies it now) that this was the way of things.

In college, Vanderbilt, I saw more people who were simply less able. And this is at a high quality institution!

And now, working at Hewlett-Packard, I see more of the standard. Even in such a place, I see even more people who are simply not capable of rising much above where they are. Some are, and all too many, the majority, are going to be forever trapped in lower-level positions because they simply lack the ability to rise. Many lack the motivation as well, but motivation can only take you so far.

The Onion had an article about Obama losing his hope for America, and Jon Stewart made the same joke. I suspect it is true. People are idiots. Many say that those of below average intelligence are stupid, but I think it is otherwise - I suspect the average person is, in fact, below that line.

Some would be depressed by this, but I am mostly annoyed.

Long ago, the Founding Fathers of America feared that democracy would not work for pretty much exactly these reasons - that people were self interested and unable to see beyond that. But they didn't see the even worse truth - most people are unable to even understand their own self-interest, so will do things which sound good to them, even if they are actually bad for them, and never even understand what they did to themselves.

Lie with dogs, and you get fleas. Lie with the masses, and you get stupid emails.

I hate hypocrisy

This response (which I sent to him) will make no sense unless you read http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/30/AR2009103002868.html first.

Mr. Will;

I read, as usual, your column ("Bullying by disclosure") in the paper today, and was throughly disappointed. I know you're conservative, but there's really only one thing to be said:

You need to learn to take what you've been giving.

Conservatives have been doing this sort of nonsense for ages. They've boycotted businesses and attempted to boycott businesses which supported gay rights. They've beaten up gays and then argued that they weren't hate crimes. They've intimidated people by showing up to rallies and town halls with guns, and taking pictures of their houses, not to mention writing emails and letters threatening to kill people. They've denied people their constitutional rights. And unlike the liberals, they have ACTUALLY DONE these things, up to killing people.

And now you're complaining when the liberals are fighting back and using some of your tactics back against you, and not even the worst ones. You want to deny people their constitutionally granted rights, and you're angry when they're trying to deny yours right back.

If you want people to stop wanting to infringe on your rights, then you need to stop trying to infringe on theirs. You yourself today endorsed the idea that people can differ on the idea of gay marriage. Well then, I propose we can differ on your right to keep that private. They're both obviously unconstitutional, but given that the modern conservative movement hates the Constitution, that's hardly surprising.

Thuggish? You're the thugs. By trying to deny people the right to marry, you are acting as the thugs. The liberals in question are hurt and are trying to hurt you right back, a very natural reaction.

The issue will be resolved when you stop doing to them exactly what you're decrying them doing to you. Until then, I hope you live in fear every day. The funniest part is, the liberals won't actually do anything to you, but you, being set in that thuggish mentality yourself, think that there is actual substance behind their threats. They are simply angry and scared because you endorse terrorizing them and their friends, making them feel unequal, and they want you to feel the same way.

Jesus said to love thy neighbor, but the conservatives have long failed to live up to that maxim. Now the liberals are starting to realize the rule for dealing with you is eye for an eye, as it is the only thing you seem to comprehend.

Your thuggish liberal friend,
TD

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Job at Hewlett-Packard

I got a job at Hewlett-Packard. I suppose I should be excited, but really, I'm pretty ambivalent. My future coworkers seem to enjoy their job, though, so I guess it shouldn't be too bad. And in six months, I can always apply for a new job elsewhere.

But it should be interesting. I start in a couple weeks.

In other news, the world is much the same.

Reality is frustrating

It has been eight months or so since I last posted on my journal. In that time, Obama has been sworn into office and promptly done absolutely nothing. He hasn't closed Guantanamo Bay, he hasn't thrown anyone in jail; he hasn't pulled us out of Iraq, he's actually increased troop presence in Afganistan, and he hasn't even done away with Don't Ask, Don't Tell, let alone helped out with the whole gay marriage debacle. As John Stewart said, maybe we should have read the fine print on his signs; "Yes We Can" (but that doesn't necessarily mean we will). I blame every person who supported Obama in the primaries; the man is not doing a good job so far. He's no Bush, but he hasn't moved us forward at all.

Meanwhile the world moves forward, leaving him behind. Gay marriage has been legalized in two more states. Riots are happening on the streets of Iran. And what does the change man do? Nothing.

This isn't to say that, necessarily, he could do much about Iran. The protesters would need to WANT our help, otherwise our stepping in might just make things worse. But conversely things are going pretty badly already, and I have always felt, every time we see a protest be put down brutally by the Chinese, or the Iranians, or some other despot or oligarchy, that maybe we, the Western World, should be doing more to help them, rather than being quite so concerned with our own self-interests. We don't need them to be friendly towards us, but Iran would be an infinitely better place with different leadership, regardless of whether or not that affects OUR strategic needs. Sure, maybe leader X won't give us free access to their country or call off building nuclear weapons. But if they have mass popular support, and a real organic power base, they're likely to be better for their people, which, ultimately, is probably better for us - after all, over time, it seems the Western model is being increasingly adopted by successful people. Sure, you end up with the Japanese and South Koreans, which have their own take on modernity, but they're friendly to us. Shouldn't we act as a force for freedom, rather than spending all our effort on killing people who might pose a threat to us? Better to actually be the good guys than fight the bad guys, I say.

But maybe that's a bit naive.

In the end, however, I think that we, as a people, are all too willing to say "some other time". Why isn't gay marriage being dealt with, or don't ask, don't tell? The answer is that supposedly there are more important things. But what is more important than human rights, human dignity? And why can't we deal with both gays and health care?

Cowardice, that's why. An unwillingness to do what needs to be done, and to buckle down and say, "This needs to stop right now."

A great example would be Obama's Supreme Court nominee. Sotomayor is not a good nominee. She isn't liberal enough - she is probably less liberal than the leaving justice. And worse still, she is a racist. Yeah, the Republicans always love screaming about racism against whites, but in this case, they're right. The New Haven firefighter thing is clearly a case of racial discrimination. If you have a test, and then refuse to pass people forward because they're of the wrong race, then you are being racist. It doesn't matter if they're black, white, or orange - it is wrong regardless. And yet, she thinks its okay. Her repeated remarks, which have been CLAIMED to be out of context, aren't - she really did say, and mean, that she thought that a hispanic woman was better at making decisions than a white male.

She is an utterly unacceptable nominee who has been put forward because she is a latina. That is the ONLY reason it is her. There have to be more qualified hispanic women, let alone, say, asians or whites.

A good nominee would be more liberal. Taking someone from the Ninth Circuit court, for instance. We have the people in the senate to push it through, we should do it. The republicans will whinge and whine and moan and groan, but we shouldn't listen to them. Their way lies only ruin. We need to move to where we need to be, and there cannot be compromise here. There is no halfway - you either do it, or you don't.

And that's the mantra in general. We need to give equal rights to EVERYONE. This means, if you're gay, you're the same as a straight. Black, same as white. This means you CANNOT discriminate against them any which way, and that includes "positive discrimination" - it is no better than the negative kind, as it is inherently negative towards those who it is not directed at. But it also means you cannot say "Well, they have civil unions, isn't that enough?"

Half a century ago we decided that separate was not, is never, equal. We need to remember that what is good for the goose is good for the gander, and apply the principle of equity before the law to everyone.

But with cowards in charge, it is hard to hope for that.

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A year and change

Its been over a year since I last posted in this journal. I think about it from time to time, but seldom post.

But at this point, I feel it is about time.

Barack Hussein Obama is currently the president elect of the United States, and there is a chance that the Democrats will have 60 seats in the senate - they currently have 57, the 58th seems likely, the 59th is in a recount, and the 60th is a runoff in december. They also control the House of Representatives.

I volunteered to help get Jeff Merkley elected here in Oregon, and I feel that the efforts of myself and the fellow volunteers pushed him over the edge, so I feel like I have at least a small stake in the political arena.

And at this point I'm going to start complaining.

You see, people seem to have deified Obama, but for no good reason. The man simply is not that good. He isn't going to be a great president, or even a good one. He's going to be okay. He's going to be another Clinton or Bush Sr. - unremarkeable in the long term. People will remember him, but only because of the trivia of being the first Hawaiian president. And the first half-black one, I suppose.

The reality is that it isn't a big deal that he's black. First off, he's half-white, and secondly, he's ALL white - he just happens to have black skin. Who cares about that? Racists. And the media, the people making a big deal out of it, are simply proving themselves to be such.

The man is not liberal. People believe he is, but where is he on socialized healthcare? Where was he on funding for the Iraq War? What was he doing for the Wall Street Bailout? And when is he legalizing gay marriage?

The reality is that the man is not a brave or bold man. He's got some charisma, but that's about it. He's not couragous, nor ground-breaking. He's not particularly liberal - he's less liberal than Hillary Clinton, and I hear people accusing HER of being a Republican.

The next four years are going to be better than those under Bush, but let us not kid ourselves - Obama is no great leader. He's just an okay one. He's not a groundbreaker - he's walking a path long since cleared for him.

I'm glad the Democrats have power, but what use is it without the courage to use it? We must tell them to go forward. There is no danger of overextension - their policies are popular, and if you make the Republicans look like the regressives that they are, you will continue to hold power.

And they need to throw people in jail. Particularly everyone in the Bush administration, including Bush himself, who broke the law.
I would like feedback on the following letter to the editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times, in response to a column which appeared in today's paper entitled "Gay rights laws raise concerns." I would appreciate your imput on how I can improve this letter before I send it in.

Carolyn Johnson shows the need for education of the children on homosexuality; it is obvious that many adults simply don’t understand homosexuality, so the schools need to educate children on it so that they can understand it and not carry forwards the misconceptions about it to the next generation. Carolyn doesn’t seem to understand that women rape men, and that it is no defense in court. It doesn’t matter what gender someone is; if they rape someone, they rape someone. At least 15% of rapes are women raping men, and it is likely a much higher percentage than that as men are much less likely to report being raped than women. This highlights the need for educating the populace.
It irrelevant what the majority of Oregonians believe; a significant proportion of the population thinks the Sun orbits the Earth, and almost half don’t know about evolution or how long it takes for the Earth to go around the Sun. Obviously, if we want our children to be knowledgeable about the world, we’re going to have to tell them things their parents don’t know and often, don’t want them to know because of religious convictions. This is simply wrong; every child should know about reality regardless of their parents’ convictions or the convictions of various religious forces.
Homosexuality comes out of a combination of environmental and genetic factors. The environment I am speaking of is not an environment full of gays; indeed, if the right-wing Republicans are any indication, exposure to few gays seems to increase homosexuality. No, the environment I’m talking about is population crowding and the conditions within the womb. Homosexuality is not a choice; people are attracted to members of their own sex due to brain structure and responses to hormones, not because they want to like members of their same gender. Indeed, many people do not want to be gay, and many homophobes are gay themselves.
Oregon voters not wanting gay marriage legalized is also irrelevant. People who believe the tyranny of the majority should rule don’t really understand the United States or what it stands for at all; indeed, the Constitution of this nation was written in such a way as to prevent the fickle will of the populace from causing too much damage and oppressing others. It is fundamentally bad for a system to exist in such a way that the majority can deny minorities fundamental rights; I’m sure Carolyn wouldn’t like it if the nonreligious population of Oregon (over a quarter of the state population, many residing right here in Benton county) and said she couldn’t be a Christian. That’d be wrong. Saying that gays cannot marry is, likewise, wrong; gays should have the same rights as everyone else, and if you say differently, then you don’t believe in what the United States stands for. It is not Christianity, a religion many of the Founding Fathers weren’t a member of, nor is it democracy, something that they knew to be dangerous. The Untied States of America stands for liberty, equality, and opportunity.
The fourteenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states that no person in the United States shall be denied equal protection under the law. If you deny gays the rights to marry, you are committing a crime against their civil rights as citizens of the United States of America. The fourteenth amendment is the single most important amendment in the Constitution, as it says that every single person in this country shall have equal protection under the law. For this amendment to come into being the country had to split apart and be sewn back together with the sinew of fallen men, and the foes of equality have fought hard against it ever since. Women’s sufferage and the civil rights movement of the 1960s were both attempts to get the reality of this amendment recognized. How long must it be before we simply accept the equality of everyone under the law and give everyone the basic civil rights they deserve?
Obviously, at least one more day.

Morality

This entry will begin a many-part series of philisophical ramblings so that all of you can better understand who I am. This time I shall touch on morality. I would start with who I am, but I think that particular post will scare most of you.

So, morality. What are my moral values, and how did I arrive at them?

Cut for length and inanityCollapse )

For some reason, I have lost my ability for non-humorous thought. I blame the jabberwocky.

*gyres away*
NRA opposes bill to stop gun sales to terror suspects

This is a good example of the media being stupid. To whit:

"In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, lawmakers are considering a number of measures to strengthen gun sale laws."

Let's be clear. He bought his guns legally. He was not an illegal immigrant, he was not a convicted felon, and he certainly wasn't on the terrorist watch list. So why are you mentioning this? Linking the two is silly.

Now, I'm not saying this was intentional, as I can see typing this without thinking about it. But it certainly has the appearance of bias. Is it fair? I don't know. I would like to think there's a better way of wording it, but whatever.

It is clear that congress is being silly, but really, Virginia Tech isn't a big deal. People go nuts, and as long as we allow them to have firearms, they will do so. And really, even without firearms, they will still do so.

I do think this is a really bad idea, because frankly, being suspected of and being a terrorist or criminal are entirely different things, and its wrong to deny people rights on mere suspicion. If you KNOW they're a terrorist, that's one thing. But otherwise? Come on folks.

I don't like siding with the NRA oftentimes, but this is one time I will side with them, as this is one of those really abusable things.

Its not that people are evil...

Its that people don't see it. It always surprises me; if I don't know someone well, and had no reason to know them well, and they ask me for advice on something, it is invariable that in the end their response to the situation is for evil ends. I'm not talking machivellian evil, mind you; I would actually enjoy that. I'm talking pure selfishness, people who are taking selfish actions and ask me if they should do it. What am I supposed to do? Their goal will be achieved by their means, but conversely, what they're thinking of doing is morally wrong. It isn't that it is wrong on a broad scale, but a narrow one; they're directly enjoying themselves by putting others in situations they don't enjoy, and it isn't that they enjoy putting people in that position so much as they don't realize they're doing it in the first place.

Being evil is natural, and even a good thing sometimes, but I think not understanding that what you're doing is evil is the worst. Life is a non-zero sum game, but people do their best to make it into one. And petty, selfish evil is perhaps the worst of all, as you don't even have good intentions, simply yourself in mind. Not that everyone, myself included, is not, but it is not exactly as if I'm going to sanction it.