Monthly Archives: November 2004

Why Britain needs more guns

Growing up in Britain, the thought of the populace carrying guns was abhorrent to me. After ten years in the USA the thought of an unarmed populace fills me with dread, though for a different reason.

Whatever your position, this piece (from the BBC, no less) is interesting.

My favourite quote: "A study found American burglars fear armed home-owners more than the police".

Best Buy to thrifty customers: Hit the road!

It seems that Best Buy are trying to rid themselves of those us who buy the loss-leaders and leave the store. Apparently they would rather fill the store with “Barrys” (High-income men), “Jills” (Suburban moms) and “Buzzes” (early adopters, interested in buying and showing off the latest gadgets).

I’m not a Barry.
I’m not a Jill
I’m not a Buzz
I am a Geek!

Who are the troublemakers? In the words of Brad Anderson, Best Buy’s CEO…
“They buy products, apply for rebates, return the purchases, then buy them back at returned-merchandise discounts.”

This is highly unethical behavior, but that can be solved by business practices (like using rebates that require removing the UPC, so that you cannot return the item afterward) rather than driving customers out of the store. But Mr Anderson continues…

“They load up on ‘loss leaders’, severely discounted merchandise designed to boost store traffic, then flip the goods at a profit on eBay.”

And your point is..? I see nothing wrong with this. But wait! There’s more…

“They slap down rock-bottom price quotes from Web sites and demand that Best Buy make good on its lowest-price pledge.”

They you should not make promises you cannot keep – or at least restrict pledges to retail outlets in town.

Sounds like BB’s business practices are the real problem here.

I have not done much shopping in BB, but this only serves to make me want to shop elsewhere. Of course BB has a bad enough reputation is it is – in my opinion they have only themselves to blame. (Thanks to Codewarrior for this news.)

Now I know why they call us “patients”…

Have you ever walked into a Doctor’s office and immediately been ushered into a treatment room where a Doctor was waiting to attend to your medical problem?

Me neither.

To be honest, I do not expect such treatment. However, over the past few years I have encountered the opposite extreme way too many times for my liking.

A few years ago I was developing a patient appointments system. One of the features that I built into the design was the concept of a steady flow of patients arriving at ten or fifteen-minute intervals, so as to minimize time spent waiting. I did this by setting a limit on how many appointments could be booked with a particular doctor at any given time.

A few days later an irate nurse stormed into my office and demand that I “fix” the system. It appeared that the Doctors were furious at my “improvements” to the system. It turned out that they expected all of the patients to show up at 2 O’Clock. Why? So they could see them all as quickly as possible and then abscond – presumably to an urgent appointment at the golf course. According to the nurse, the Doctors did not like the idea of waiting on patients to arrive.

Well, to quote Steve Martin, “Excuuuuuuuuuuuse Me”.

How terrible that a Doctor should be waiting on a Patient, when everyone knows that it should be the other way round. However, I ended up taking that “feature” out.

Last year I booked an appointment to see a skin specialist – nothing serious, just a a patch of dry skin that I wanted to ensure was not anything more serious. The Doctor was apparently in demand – I had to book an appointment two months in advance.

The great day finally came, and I wended my way to the office, where I was confronted by a waiting room full of people. After signing-in, I turned to the assembled horde and said “Excuse me, but who is here for a 2:30 Appointment with Dr. X?”

Nearly every hand in the room went up. “Thank you”. I then turned to one of the administrative assistants and asked her how many treatment rooms they have.

“Three”.

“Then something is wrong with your appointment scheduling system – the Doctor cannot possibly see so many people at once. I am returning to work. Please let me know when the problem is fixed.”

I never heard from them, and never returned. The skin problem cleared up my itself.

I suspect that most Doctors are reading this thinking “How dare you! Don’t you know my time is valuable?” You’re quite right, it is… but so is mine. Almost all of us have to take time off work or sacrifice income for a trip to the Doctor’s office, so keeping us waiting to make your lives easier is the very height of arrogance.

Much of the blame for this lies with the rest of us – we have elevated the medical community to a position of high importance. Perhaps we have sat and patiently waited because we have assumed that the doctor was running late because of some medical emergency. The medical profession, unsurprisingly, has been happy to go along with this.

Somewhere along the line it seems that the medical profession has forgotten the simple fact that just like a Plumber, a Hairdresser, a Teacher or a Mechanic, a Doctor is providing a service to a customer. The concept of customer service seems anathema to the medical profession, I suspect by design.

The election is over…

…and I have nothing to add, save a few presidential quotes…

  • Though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people. (Grover Cleveland)
  • Segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit… (Woodrow Wilson)
  • I am convinced that the larger incomes of the country would actually yield more revenue to the government if the basis of taxation were scientifically revised downward. (Calvin Coolidge, State of the Union message, December 3, 1924)
  • I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. That is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can re-establish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very distinct curtailment of our liberty. (Calvin Coolidge, State of the Union message, December 3, 1924)
  • My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference. (Harry S Truman)
  • Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but stand there and take it. (Lyndon B. Johnson)
  • The kind of government that is strong enough to give you everything you need is also strong enough to take away everything that you have. (Ronald Reagan)
  • You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or a right. There is only an up or down: up to man’s age-old dream — the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course. (Ronald Reagan, Republican National Convention, 1964)
  • They will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price. (Thomas Jefferson)
  • At the beginning of a dynasty, taxation yields a large revenue from small assessments. At the end of the dynasty, taxation yields a small revenue from large assessments. (Ibn Khaldûn, quoted by Ronald Reagan).

The Codewarrior Speaks!

The following is a post from a good friend of mine. Enjoy.

In a recent column, Worldnet Daily founder and editor Joseph Farah expounds that Bush owes his victory to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He delivers the following message to the President.

You blew it. You squandered your mandate.”

Farah misses the truth on two points.

First, how could Bush could squander a mandate that he never had? Mandates come with being elected by a massive majority. Since he did not get such a mandate in the 2000 election, he never had one in the first place.

Secondly, Yes, the Swift Vets had an impact, but it was overshadowed by the so called “evangelical” vote, or what I prefer to call the “damaged goods” voters.

For the most part, those who voted for Bush did so for the following reason: moral issues. Swift Vets or no, the outcome would have been the same. The Swifties helped, but they were not the sole or even the most important reason for the election results.

The moral pendulum in the U.S. has swung to it’s leftmost position, and is slowly beginning to travel back. The culture war, which began in the 60s, has been waged and very nearly won by the advocates of free love and moral ambiguity. The results are four generations of people that bear deep wounds from abortion, unwed pregnancy, divorce and a whole host of other societal (i.e. moral) problems. These wounds have been unable to heal. Society kept picking at them.

We have seen where this is leading, and the silent majority has spoken.

We’ve had enough.

The time of moral complacency is over.

Now, President Bush really does have a mandate vis-à-vis a majority of the largest number of votes cast in American election history.

With the Senate firmly in the hands of the Republicans, we can expect to see the President’s judicial nominations be approved and seated on the Federal bench. It is also presumed that three or four Supreme Court justices will either retire or shuffle off their mortal coil during the next presidential term.

If past nominations are any guide, Bush’s nominees will be of the strict constitutionalist variety. These nominees, particularly to SCOTUS, will shape the judicial landscape and by extension the direction of American society for the next 20 to 30 years.

The advocates of moral relativism had almost won complete control of the courts through activist judges. But on November 2, 2004 that victory was snatched from them.

They are in a twist over the fact that the Constitution, and by extension the laws on the books, will be read and applied with the original intent of the founders in mind. This doesn’t mean that the police will be coming soon to a bedroom near you. What it does mean is that the populace of this country is returning to a foundation of morality. This attitude will not trickle down from the courts, but will influence the courts. The shape of our government is a reflection of the society at large.

The Constitution of the United States, as written and intended by it’s authors, represents just the kind of morality the left has been fighting against for the last 40 years. To the liberal, the Constitution is an obstacle to be avoided or torn down. Whether they realize it or not, their ability to do so has just been destroyed, and their defeat is total.

Bush didn’t squander his mandate, he’s just now getting one from the people that have been the greatest casualties of the culture wars.

Canaan Land Farm Bed & Breakfast

We spent last night there. We stayed in the log cabin, spending the evening drowsing in front of a roaring log fire after a most enjoyable dinner at “Shakertown” two miles down the road.

The natives are definitely friendly – Mark and Ann Fryer are two of the nicest people that it has been my privilege to meet; people of good character and strong faith – and their Dog, Polly (a year-old Golden Retriever) is everybody’s friend. Their new baby, Kate, is a sweetie.

Breakfast was second to none and the fellowship we shared was of similar calibre. We did not want to leave. We will return.

Highly recommended.