03 August 2021

Entitlement Program Link Sausages

It's election day around here. So that means it's appropriate — perhaps much too late — to comment on some of the more dubious entitlement programs. But these are entitlement programs that don't make the news very often…

  • This is a fun neighborhood in most respects, but there's one aspect that just about everyone will agree completely sucks: The parking. It's not just that these are old streets, laid out in the days of street cars (and redlining, but that's for another time). The mixed-residential-and-commercial, mixed-density nature makes for some interesting problems of its own — especially with entitled drivers.

    Entitled out of town (as in Oregon plate ___ LHR) drivers.

    Entitled out-of-town drivers in Volvo SUVs with multiple bicycles on a rack hanging off the back, incompetently parked, resulting in taking up about one and a half parking spots on the all-residential side of the street. No doubt while visiting the most-self-righteous-of-the-three vegan restaurants on/across the block for Sunday brunch, all sweaty after a great bicycle ride… and neglecting that that half spot was blocking access to my driveway. I ended up driving up over the curb with my load of groceries and painting supplies to get into my own driveway while these entitled jerks enjoyed their $25 "ham" and "eggs." (And I get to further sully their memories by putting this comment on a "sausage platter"… and I can guarantee you that whatever these sausages are, they aren't vegan.)

  • But at least they weren't complete dickheads — they left after a marginally-reasonable time. I can't say the same about the governor of New York, who is not just oblivious but entitled because he inherited the right to be prominent in politics. Perhaps he should review U.S. Const. Art. I § 9 cl. 8:

    No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

    and ponder the implications for "nepotism as a foundation of American politics." He won't be the first to fail to do so; if you really want to see "entitlement" in action, just be related to someone prominent in Chicago politics… including on the Heffalump side of the aisle (however limited in number that is). Or get a job at the White House during the previous administration without any apparent experience or qualifications not related to… well, not "related" will do.

    Governor Cuomo should have resigned as soon as he got the undoubted-if-repeatedly-denied back-channel message that General James' investigation was going to find significant culpable conduct. That's what "office of public trust" means (my other computer just decided to comment editorially on this betrayal with a "random" selection). It's one thing to make a mistake, own up to it, and ask forgiveness. It's another thing entirely to engage in a years-long pattern of conduct, deny that the pattern has anything wrong with it, and act like a Daley. Or a Pendergast. Or a governor of the state of Illinois (half of them since 1945 are convicted felons, and half of the remainder raise eyebrows).

    Meanwhile, California is doing its best to demonstrate that its political system is optimized for dysfunction and abuse.

  • And policy differences are by no means a determinant of dickheadishness. On the one hand, here in the purportedly "most liberal" city in the country, we've got city and county council members whose stated policy preferences I agree with, but who can't seem to stop being awful people with egos sufficient to support the dictatorship of a banana republic. (I'm choosing that comparison with full awareness of the political and ethnic undertones.) On the other hand, we've got defense contractors (specifically including one that used to be headquartered here, until its headquarters were attracted by local tax breaks elsewhere) who've clearly forgotten part of "profit motive driven by enlightened self-interest". Leaving aside that the aircraft in question was a piece of crap when first acquired, admittedly under prior ownership, and a logistical nightmare complained about by every USN and USMC supply and maintenance officer ever forced to work with it (at least in the O-club bar ashore and at joint-service social occasions)…

    Which gets into a different aspect of entitlement: That having some "correct" opinions, or engaging in some "heroic" actions, entitles one to be oblivious and/or an uncriticizable dickhead on everything else (sort of like the faaaaabulous charitable giving of certain tobacco heirs/families, which in many ways is rather worse than the Sacklers who at least didn't directly profit from slave labor and displacement of native populations). This is disturbingly analogous to ancestor worship of "Confederate heroes" standing up for "states' rights" while suppressing the rights of those of different racial/ethnic/religious backgrounds (not to mention the treason). Elections in a representative democracy are only secondarily about policies; they are primarily about the individuals, because the very nature of electing governing officials is that we're selecting who will lead in a future crisis, expected (global warming) or not (pandemic).