Scattershooting while wondering why it’s been so long since I wielded the scattershooting arsenal here!
HOW to LEARN HOW to DRIVE: I cut my driving teeth in the Metroplex in the ’80s. This turned me into an “assertive” city driver in a hurry. My version of defensive driving: the best defense is a good offense. It was survival of the fittest, amongst (in any particular order): lost/confused northerners turning left from the right lane and vice versa, hyper-aggressive natives driving 95 in 55, tin-can Datsuns cutting you off then stopping on a dime for no apparent reason, illegal drivers from across the border going at random angles with respect to the road, blue-haired old ladies with bad vision puttering along at snail’s paces while leaned way forward almost to the windshield, wrong-way drunks, green-light sitters who’d wait 5-10 seconds to go, red-light runners at any stage of the cycle, johns on the whore corners looking at women instead of the road, street racers at any hour of day or night, low-rider Lincolns bouncing hydraulics and booming loud music while crawling at 5 mph, 18-wheeler “rulers o’ the freeway” who didn’t care at all about the concept of right-of-way, insurance fraudsters who would try to back into you on purpose at stoplights, crotch-rocket jockeys weaving between cars and lanes at dizzying speeds, gangbangers with .22 & .38 pistols sometimes raised, and other gauntlet obstacles to arriving alive and well. Gives one perspective, makes one adaptable and tough. Ahh, the memories…
RETAIL VACANCIES — A VERY COMPLEX ISSUE: Norman, like a lot of cities and towns, has had a sizable population of long-empty stores and restaurant spaces over the last decade—more lately. It’s easy and devoid of critical thinking for someone to blame “greedy landlords”, as I’ve seen and heard many times. Look deeper. The variables involved are many, and often related to local policy—such as the vacancies created on Ed Noble Pkwy by stores flocking to the University North Park TIF district starting about a decade ago. Others—such as profit loss from theft off already slim margins (in their case, also combined with a gimmicky pricing scheme) can doom a tenant, as appears to have happened with the Cost Saver store on Lindsey & 12th, in an increasingly blighted area. Other times, large tenants or small businesses (most of whom don’t last more than a few years anyway) pull out due to profit-margin analysis.
How retail spaces get vacant is messy. How they stay vacant is, too. Oftentimes, landlords are caught in a vise between commercial lenders and the rent/lease levels of supply and demand. Since most landlords don’t own their facilities outright, mortgage-free, they are beholden to banks and other lenders, who can dictate minimum-rent rates above prevailing. This leaves stores vacant and costs landlords a lot of money, which they have to make up elsewhere, else sell properties or go bankrupt. Not as simple as “greedy landlords” or even “greedy banks”. These are all businesses—not charities! This article summarizes the issue really well—even if it is coast-centric. [One of the glaring biases of elite corporate journalism is treating the coasts with greater importance than areas between. For another, see below.]
JOURNALISM PHOTOS as PROPAGANDISTIC PSYOPS: The strong leftward bias in journalism is self-evident to anyone who reads stories critically for keywords often used by one side but not the other. “Homophobia”, “climate crisis”, “social justice”, “his husband”, “transphobia”, and similar leftist words appearing in stories are dead giveaways of that bias, of course. That goes without saying; it’s so obvious. The bias is simply a manifestation of the political leanings of the profession, wherein self-declared Democrats outnumber Republicans 4-1. [And if you think the “Independents” are evenly split, I’ve got prime land 20 miles east of downtown Miami to sell you.]
This article from the BBC straight-up admits journalistic psyops via choice of images. A shorter word for such a practice is: propaganda. And yet members of the profession wonder why revenue is down and layoffs are rampant. Part of the problem is outdated business models in the tech age. Another part is destroying any notion of objectivity (and therefore credibility) through editorializing, and propaganda tactics such as freely admitted in this “story”. Journalism is supposed to be about reporting the facts and only the facts, remaining sociopolitically neutral, and letting the audience decide their implications and meaning for themselves, not practicing emotional manipulation of readership, nor using subjective editorial words like “crisis” that are mathematically immeasurable. Yet reporters consistently, arrogantly, think they should make up readers’ minds for them. [News flash: based on the poor quality of stories overall, this reader — who has taken courses in journalism and has read daily news since age 6 — thoroughly overwhelms the vast majority of reporters on total awareness of large numbers of issues, vocabulary size, and writing skill. Try me.] The story is about climate, but that’s not my concern here; the issue could be anything controversial. It’s that the propaganda tactics and lack of neutrality are so culturally ingrained in journalism now that they don’t even try to hide the biases anymore. Treat the stories you read accordingly, and with a more critical and skeptical filter than ever.
PLAGIARIST HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: Of all people, the president of an (increasingly disreputable) Ivy League university should lead by example with a sterling clean academic and professional record, utterly free of plagiarism. Yet here we are. Meanwhile the NY Times tries to obfuscate and impart false nuance by excusing her academic dishonesty as “degrees of plagiarism” (paywalled, thus no link). This is rich, coming from the (increasingly disreputable) newspaper that employed Jayson Blair, among several more who have passed off others’ work as their own. But isn’t it always about goalpost-moving progression when “our side” does it? This follows a recurring pattern, obvious to the observant:
1. Denial: “No plagiarism happened!”
2. Minimilization: (oh s**t, optics optics!, PR damage control on aisle 4, we have to back off some): There was a little bit of plagiarism. And it wasn’t that bad.
3. Bad is good (per Isaiah 5:20): “Multiple instances of plagiarism occurred, but here’s why it’s fine.”
4. “Systemic oppression by the capitalist patriarchy forces the subjugated class to resort to plagiarism, as an act of resistance. Stick it to The Man!”
[We’re stuck stage 2 with the current Plagiarist in Chief. Journalism quit there, then in a dereliction of duty all too common to the sycophantic Fourth Estate, ignored the past in hopes it would be forgotten. It largely was, except by those of us old and aware enough to remember.] Notice the increasingly unhinged irrationality at each step. Instead, how about this: Thou shalt not lie. End of story.
PORNOGRAPHIC SODOMY in the SENATE FACILITY: With the behavior of the politicians in Congress seemingly reaching new lows by the month (example), is it any wonder the staffers follow suit? Recently came news of an unsurpassed absurdity that epitomizes the level of cultural moral decay in DC. What kind of deranged morons would have butt sex in the Senate hearing room at all, much less make a pornographic video of it?!?!?!? This is truly diabolical, pathological behavior, and entirely unbecoming the traditional dignity of the chamber. Get your favorite version of the story (Fox, CNN). I won’t direct link the main story from the Daily Caller, which broke it, due to nasty, grotesque, NSFW imagery, even in blurred-out form. The staffer (of Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin) tried to portray himself as some sort of victim of bigotry against “love”. Unmitigated bullshit! You don’t have sex of any nature, nor film porn, in a federal office facility! Simple as that. Not only has he been fired, and should have been, but may (and should) face criminal charges.