Friday, 10 January 2014

The You-Ought-to-Migrate Strategy

Imagine a state, where some folks introduce a simple legislative bill....that says on election day....even if you are registered in county X, that you appear in county Y and note that you've moved, and you intend to vote in county Y's election.  Imagine the voting clerk noting everything perfectly legal, then allowing you to vote with ease in county Y.

Well, in Colorado....the state legislature created such a law (House Bill 1303).

The original premise was that it'd make it real easy for new folks (hint: minorities) to just appear, register, and vote on election day.  Setting up a 30 or 60 day limit?  Well, they just didn't think that'd be necessary.  Setting up a mandatory requirement of property taxes in the new county?  Well, no....that would simply impede the minority folks and their vote.  Item after item.....which might have brought logic or ethics into the discussion....tossed out.

So, it's an odd thing.  Some guy appeared in county where a recall election was called, noting he just today....moved from county X to county Y.  The clerk had to accept the guy and allowed him to register to vote.

The guy in this episode?  From Colorado.  His intent?  He noting the most interesting tactic of voting procedure in Colorado history.  A number of counties in Colorado (voting districts).....are overwhelmingly Republican.  Folks in Colorado know the counties, and know that it's typically a seventy-thirty mix.  Ranching areas....farm districts....rural areas.

So what this guy is suggesting is that a couple thousand folks migrate, just for one day, to another county where it's typically a 53-to-47 percent Democratic majority.  With two or three thousand folks suddenly migrating in and getting voting status in just ten minutes.....you suddenly turn a easy win county for Democrats into a marginal win....and likely a Republican win (just a one-vote margin is enough in real life).

The mere suggestion of this new migration strategy is scaring the crap out of some Colorado Democrats.  They never envisioned that someone would figure out a one-day migration angle to the whole thing.   Fixing this by November of 2014?  It's likely number one on the list of things that must be done....but then you'd have to undo the marvelous device that you designed to help you with the minority vote or sudden-appearance votes.  You'd crack up a fancy strategy with "win-win-win" all over it.

Add in a thirty-day migration requirement, where you have to show evidence you moved?  I'm guessing guys are already dreaming up a simple RV address in a Democratic county, where seven guys will indicate they sleep out of the same RV trailer.  More evidence to anchor your registration?  It'd just slam the folks that you wanted to help vote in this year's election.

I'm guessing that around four thousand folks as a minimum....are going to move in this migration-vote mess for November of 2014.  Maybe even ten thousand folks.  And it's going to make a fair mess for strategy guys to figure the 2016 election in the state.

And here's the odd thing. If it works in Colorado.....there's bound to be other states and open doors to do the same thing.

So, as you sit in the barber's chair there in Walsenburg, and Joe starts talking about migrating up north....into Colorado Springs, and you start thinking he's got a screw loose or something.  Well, no.....Joe got migration on his mind for other reasons, and it's a bit devious.

Going Nowhere Fast

It won't make onto the national news, and ninety-nine percent of America doesn't care....but the Japanese have offered an odd deal for the DC/Baltimore community.  The Japanese government is willing to put around four billion dollars on the table, to help build a high-speed rail deal between DC and Baltimore (a 39-mile stretch).  Currently, with the best that Amtrak has to offer....this takes roughly fifty minutes (on a good day).

The entire project?  Well.....it's carefully woven into the bigger deal.  The Japanese want the US to buy into their standard railway, with their standard high-speed trains.  The entire route envision would be from DC to Boston (don't ask why they picked Boston instead of NY City).  But that would be several years down the line. This Baltimore to DC plan would cost roughly eight billion in today's dollars.  If you figure in incompetence, greed, and foolish behavior....it'll round off at sixteen billion (my figure).

The pay-back?  Well....this is the hard part for folks to get around to accepting.  For the line to ever pay the Japanese back....you'd have to take the standard cost of today's DC to Baltimore Amtrak ticket, and at least double....perhaps even triple....the ticket the cost.  This is the same problem with the LA to Vegas concept....where it'd cost double the current airline cost between the two cities....to ride out on a high-speed train.

How many locals from Baltimore or DC would ride it?  There's an argument over this number.  Several news folks talk of different numbers.  The best practical number is around ten thousand total residents from both communities would enjoy the deal on a daily basis.

How connected is Baltimore to DC?  After living in Arlington for three years.....I came to realize that most folks in Baltimore have zero connection to DC, and the same is true for DC folks.  Folks in both areas are particular about football and baseball traditions.  Jobs?  Well.....generally, there's not that much in Baltimore to draw a guy to live there.

So this whole thing?  Basically, you would be working to create a twenty-five minute ride from the Baltimore station to the DC station.  You can figure another thirty minutes messing around with local connections in Baltimore to get over to their train station, and another thirty minutes to get from the center of DC to your job site.

If they had said there's one single effort....to build one high-speed rail to NY City from DC....some additional interest would have been generated.  It takes roughly three hours now for a guy to make the standard run (which is a limited-stop deal).  If you said it could be done in sixty-six minutes (no stops along the way)....you'd suddenly pick up a good bit of interest.  But then you'd ask how much a one-day single ticket would run, and the $140 round-trip ticket would make this a joke.

So when you hear about this entire high-speed rail deal and how the Japanese want to help finance it.....you know the basic facts.  It's cash flushed down a toilet.....as fast as possible....on something that few would ever benefit from.

The Trouble with Tolerance

There are two definitions to the term "tolerance".

First, it could mean the ability to tolerate an issue.....regarding the existence of an opinion or attitude or practice.....that a person doesn't agree with.  In other words, after a long line of behavior modification.....you get to some point where you can accept some things happening but generally don't like and probably don't support it.

Second?  It's a machinist-type definition.....simply an allowable extent or load.....that falls within a noted quantity in a machine-produced product.  You built something to handle 2,144 pounds of weight....as long as it does not climb above that number....you are safe.  If it does climb beyond that.....you are screwed.

I'm fifty-five and have come to realize this myth of teaching or inflicting tolerance onto people.  In 1977 when I entered the Air Force.....there were at least a dozen hours of tolerance training mandated in basic training.  Some of it circled around "I'm Ok, you're Ok", and the rest around racism.

The concept is simple.  Someone works on your behavior.  They want you to generally accept A, B, and C.  It's a word game for the most part.  They start with the idea of social change, and that your peers are all doing it.  You need to realize this change, and flow with the crowd.  By the end of basic training....most everyone is geared to just accept things but be mostly still the same person.  This means that racist folks are mostly taught to hide their racism, pretend things are fine, and just keep your mouth shut.

Life in the Air Force is simple from that day on.  Everyone quietly has an opinion and rarely shares those extreme thoughts.  If you do accidentally share those thoughts....they send you back for more tolerance training.  They reinforced it by inserting tolerance training into each base-to-base transfer.  So after a while, most all folks were capable of conducting themselves in a clean and proper work atmosphere.

Well....yeah.....we had just as many racists in the Air Force in 1998, as we had in 1977 when I joined....but they were simply trained to quietly act professional and just avoid talking on this subject.

As you progress in life....you tend to notice this tolerance training scheme at work in the university system, newspapers, political world, and the nightly news.  Folks want to share their tolerance prospectives and get you to accept more and more things onto the plate.  Truthfully?  You aren't really changing much of your prospective.  You simple will see something of a disagreeable nature, and just avoid talking about it.

It was generally a pretty good trend of sorts....up until the last ten years.  On some different levels....I think tolerance has hit absolute maximum and there's some push-back now.  Folks tend to ask questions.  The naive nature of tolerance has some limits.  Once a person starts to publicly deny tolerance training, or stop accepting the believed nature of peer pressure....it's a stalled game.

The funny side to tolerance training....is that if you walked up and conveyed to an atheist that he needs to accept Christian people as 'no issue'....he's liable to say no.  If you walked up to an abortion supporter and said they need to accept the argument of the anti-abortion crowd.....he will say no.  If you sat down with some anti-capitalist folks, and suggested that they needed to accept capitalism to some degree....they'd definitely say no.  Once you realize this....then the game of tolerance is over.

Recently, folks have gotten into the topic of the Washington Redskins football team.  They say it's very racist in nature, and you are very intolerant if you accept them existing with the name.  They'd like for you to develop tolerance skills, and just accept the fact that they are right, and the team must change their name.  The fact that some Indians have stepped up and said it's not racist?  Well, that was kinda unexpected, and the tolerance crowd will have to work on the Indians....getting them to be more tolerant of their own circumstance.  You can sense....this will take a while (maybe an eternity).

Tolerance is a double-edged sword in my book.  You simply are taking a guy....whittling away on his character enough....to where he just won't say anything but he generally believes in the same stuff.  He's simply learned to keep quiet....to make folks happy.  At some point....he will get unhinged and dump a bunch of truth onto the folks in front of him....and they will react in a intolerant way.

There's an effort in one state of Germany....where the political group in charge of the state....wants a teacher-agenda in the school system where tolerance is taught to grade-school kids....over lesbians, gays, transgender, and transexual folks.  They thought that everyone in the state was prepared to accept this agenda.

They kinda guessed wrong, with widespread reactions and some political intimidation going on.  Elections are fifteen months away, and this fear of pay-back by the public is scaring some political figures who signed up for the tolerance lessons.

Would German kids accept tolerance training?  If it's more of a intellectual crowd where they could be flipped into believing all their peers have signed up....then it's a pretty simple deal.  But in a crowd of working-class kids (not bound for the university system)?  They will challenge this and turn the tolerance class into a comedy of perverse word games.  Acceptance of tolerance?  No....it'd be more of a class anarchist lesson.

I've become tolerant in nature.  Some things I will simply see and accept, with a little light bulb that pops up in my mind but I know I can see things and just quietly accept them.  It's like walking into an airport terminal and noting three guys in Arab attire with suspicious looks, and I'll just pretend they aren't Jihad-Johnny type characters.  Or I'll be entering a train station and note two or three dopers in one corner....prepared to sell the hard stuff to you, and I won't whoomp on them.  Or the rental car place only has three cars left, and they are all Chrysler vehicles.....and I'll just accept one of them as my lousy choice of a driving vehicle.

You see.....I've become tolerant on fifteen thousand possibilities.

I can sit and watch CNN, even though I regard it as the collection of two-star journalists.  I can briefly sit in a church audience and receive some minister's message....even though I question the vast amount of the message (I am not my 'Brother's Keeper', nor do I pretend to agree with the logic).  I will try hard to watch a baseball game.....but deep inside....I'm boiling over with the whole steroid era and the fake statistics created by Barry Bonds.

More tolerance training for me?  No, I've probably reached maximum capacity.  I've reached the point where I'm mostly intolerant about tolerance.  Peer pressure won't help.  Professional tolerance instructors won't help.  And even Doctor Phil's tolerance episodes won't help.

Did Jesus have that an unlimited amount of tolerance?  No.  At some point, he kinda dumped his load when the tax collector guys were operating in the temple, and just let loose on them.

So pardon me....if I don't seem to be fully and completely tolerant.