Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Only Ones Plumbing Enough...

There will be no link to this posting, as it is born of my own personal undocumented experience. This is really more of a rant than anything. We're selling our house, having found a larger more suitable abode in which we would very much like to reside. We got an offer on our house soon after it was on the market with one unusual stipulation.

Our washing machine drains into an old non-functional toilet. (All in the basement.) This was to be brought up to code by a professional plumber. I asked my realtor if there was any reason I couldn't just do the repair myself. She said that normally we could negotiate that point, but since this buyer is using FHA as a lender, they would require a "certified" repair. I gutted through my disapproval, wanting to sell, and thinking that would be it. Little did I know.

Along came the actual whole house inspection. Now we've been asked to hire an electrician to cover some open junction boxes in the basement and a roofer to install flashing around the chimney and (drumroll please) re-roof the garage. My wife said my face, ears and neck all turned red when I read the addendum they submitted.

Here's my beef: my dad and I rewired 99% of the house - to code, mind you - and what they're asking for is essentially clean-up of the remaining old wiring that we didn't get to. Had I remembered that there were two open junction boxes, I would have taken care of them myself, and nothing would have been noted. Had I known the washing machine "drain" would be an issue (since most people are sooo picky about the route their gray water takes to the sewer) I would have called my grandpa and we would have fixed it in half a Saturday morning. But now, because the buyer has a picky lender, I have to hire professionals to do something that I could capably do myself, or with the assistance of family (in the case of the plumbing stack.)

We're trying to negotiate just who does the work on the garage roof. The jury is still out, and I'm worried that they're going to walk if we don't hire someone. As my realtor points out, "Roofing isn't exactly rocket science." No offense to any professional roofers out there, but as roofs go, this one's as easy as a dog house.

Beyond the face-reddening frustration due to the extra money we'll have to spend (to SELL our house!!!) I'm angry at a deeper level. I think this sort of crap is symptomatic of the larger ills of our society. Gone is the pioneer spirit of independence, self-reliance, and resourcefulness. Gone is a fearless can-do attitude that faces down problems with a toolbox and a little advice from your elders. Instead, we have a culture that increasingly welcomes total dependence upon the expertise of others to fix anything and everything. Of course, that's because we live in a remarkably prosperous society. If you don't have to spend all weekend figuring out how to change your brakes, why bother when you can spend $300 to have the pros do it in a few hours?

Before I go too far down this gripe-train, I should point something out: I don't think everyone should be a handyman. Certainly not everyone is gifted with mechanical abilities (some would probably argue that I'm not, although I try), and I don't expect someone to change their own oil just because I do. I know plenty of good men who never turn a wrench.

However, what has really chapped my rear-end is that this dependence has now been inflicted on me. Everything electrical that wasn't cited by the inspector was what my father and I did! And yet we have to hire someone to cover a damn junction box? Come on!

This mind-numbing "leave it to the professionals" attitude is permeating every pore of American life. Of course the first example that comes to my mind is the responsibility for your own safety. Dare to carry a gun in your own defense? "Vigilante! Rogue! Cowboy! That's why we have police!"

Dare to take responsibility for your kids' own education? Fundamentalist! Cult follower! Heck, in some places they won't even let you anymore.

Want to improve your own house? Well, get ready to buy permits just to make sure it's OK with the government.

And want to sell your house? Get used to hiring people to do things you could do yourself. Heck, I wonder if they're going to make me get a janitor to vacuum before we leave...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The next Waco?

This is low-hanging fruit for the proponents of the police state. You have morally repugnant behavior coupled with a guy who wears thick glasses. What's not to hate about these people? Isn't it about time somebody does something? Send in SWAT and kill 'em all, right?

Well, let's back up a step. I'm just going to note everything that I think is wrong with this picture:

1. The government has defined morality. Believe me, I have a problem with polygamy, but is it the .gov's job to tell you 'no'?
2. Here we have yet another example of a person or group of people's lives being turned upside-down based on hearsay. No hard evidence (at least not cited by the article), just a "she-said." You know, like an anonymous tip line. Want to get back at your neighbor? Just "take a bite out of crime" and call in (anonymously of course) that they're cooking meth and you know they have lots of guns. Be sure you're up at 3AM to enjoy the dynamic entry tactics employed by the death squad that will visit them.
3. The guy who did the supposed abusing is reportedly in Arizona, and the raid is taking place in...Texas. Makes sense, don't you think?
4. Eighteen girls taken into state custody - and yet no mention of charges against their parents. Here we have a state agency with the god-like power to kidnap your children when they deem it's necessary.
5. The secret police descending on these folks summarily deny access to the press. Don't get me wrong - the mainstream media does a piss-poor job of providing any sort of watchdog oversight to the government's activities anyway, but doesn't this strike anyone as Stalinist? I mean, shouldn't the activities of the government be so far above reproach that it would be a no-brainer to allow everyone to see what's going on? After all, they constantly assert that invasions of your privacy shouldn't bother you. It's always the same police state logic when they want to search us - "Well, if you don't have anything to hide, you won't mind." Apparently they have something to hide.
6. The media coverage of this event is just atrocious. The CNN story uses the word "sect" and calls the group a "rogue" branch of the Mormon Church. So I guess that's objective journalism for you - making judgment calls about the legitimacy of a religious group. You have to read and re-read to figure out what the heck is really going on. They just throw enough negative and condemning peripheral information into the mix that the reader will surely form the opinion that these sleaze balls need to be taken out. They rape kids for heaven's sake. Never mind that the accused is apparently not even present. Again, I should clarify - I think this is a sick bunch. But the clear objective of the story is to get the reader to that conclusion, so that they won't mind the eventual outcome, as foreshadowed by #7...
7. I saved this for last. It's so Orwellian that it almost gave me chills. The story opens by stating that ambulances were rolling onto the property in anticipation of "a negative reaction." Good grief, why don't they just give the public what they want and dispense with the Newspeak? Just say up front, "We're going to waste these ******s. It'll be a freaking bloodbath, and we really should be bringing in hearses instead of ambulances."

For the love of liberty, no one cares anymore. We've known for 15 years now that the government can massacre - wait, let me bold that - THE GOVERNMENT CAN MASSACRE MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN AND GET AWAY WITH IT. The victims just have to be creepy enough, and preferably be willing to defend their own lives with firearms.

Next up: homeschoolers. I know, I know. Take off the tinfoil, Adam. I say take off the blinders. Whatever department "took custody" of those kids can decide - at will - that your kids are in danger and kidnap them. If you don't think removing your kids from the government run propaganda camps that we call schools and teaching them as you see fit is a big enough offense...

Well, just wait. It will be. It's just a matter of time. One of the last powers of the people to wrest power from The Beast is to raise God-fearing kids that can handle a rifle. I very much plan to do that.