CSotD: Friday Fallacy Round-up

Clay Bennett (CTFP) summarizes the GOP’s impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, using the inquisitors’ own phrase that they intend to “connect the dots.”

However, so far, as he notes, the only revelation that has come out of the hearings is that it’s a waste of time, which even their own lead witnesses have confirmed.

There is an old maxim among attorneys that you should never ask a question to which you do not already know the answer, but the chuckleheads on this committee invited testimony from what they assumed were friendly — but apparently unvetted — sources.

Jonathan Turley took his oath and declared “I have previously stated that, while I believe that an impeachment inquiry is warranted, I do not believe that the evidence currently meets the standard of a high crime and misdemeanor needed for an article of impeachment.”

Then their forensic accountant told the committee he’d found no evidence of corruption or wrongdoing.

To be fair, Turley said he still thinks they should continue drilling this dry hole, and the accountant, Bruce Dubinsky, said he was willing to look at more documentation, on the theory that, golly, you never know.

Their approach would do honor to Wilkins Micawber, the shiftless but optimistic scrounger from David Copperfield, who was eternally certain that “something will turn up” and willing to accept support from others until that happy day.

And I say that in appreciation of the fact that Micawber was played in the 1935 movie by WC Fields, who would fit perfectly on this panel.

It’s hard to connect a single dot to anything, but Biden’s enemies have discovered, as Mike Luckovich points out, that his dog continues to nip Secret Service agents.

There may be some substance here, because Commander recently took his eleventh chomp out of somebody, and while these all may be minor flesh wounds, it does suggest that maybe Joe Biden is too soft-hearted and perhaps the ladder of justice is giving Commander a level of impunity not granted to other dogs.

But unless Biden says, “I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me … My dog did not have dental interactions with those Secret Service agents,” they won’t even be able to impeach him for perjury.

If you can’t find real evidence, you can always make it up, but then AOC grabbed the spotlight away from Byron Donalds (R-FL), who had introduced a text message that seemed to indicate Jim Biden was collaborating with his brother Joe on a business deal for Hunter.

As she indicated, and others have confirmed, Donalds trimmed the text message to leave out the fact that Hunter — then deeply in addiction — had asked for help paying his alimony. It was a family matter and had nothing to do with business.

However, as she also noted, the Speech and Debate law means legislators cannot be held liable for falsehoods, fabrications and errors.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Michael De Adder

Ann Telnaes

Two commentaries on the pending governmental shutdown, both, as it happens, from the Washington Post.

De Adder is correct that the nation is being held hostage, but I doubt that, if we give in to their demands, they will relent.

Telnaes is closer to the central issue, which is that the Freedom Caucus has no particular list of demands and is, rather, focused on torturing Kevin McCarthy, who is also indifferent to the national interest and intent on doing whatever it takes to avoid losing the speakership.

This is why you don’t bargain with blackmailers, extortionists and kidnappers: Regardless of what you agree to, they will always demand something else as well.

Mister, we could use a man like Julius Caesar again.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Phil Hands

Steve Breen — Creators

It’s hardly surprising that, when the FTC accuses Amazon of being a monopoly, the game Monopoly should spring to more than one cartoonist’s mind, which could readily fall into the rule that, if you thought of it quickly, you aren’t the only one.

But it’s no reason not to give it a shot, if you can differentiate. Hands works a lot of detail into his piece, both in reproducing an Amazon-based game board and in giving his Uncle Pennybags some dialogue.

But Breen went bold by simply combining Uncle Pennybags and the Amazon logo. It’s bold because he had a pretty good chance of someone doing the same thing, but it’s also bold because he recognized that the game is so well known that he didn’t need to do much to it in order to make his point.

As for the substance of the case, I’ve known enough cartoonists who have complained that Amazon forces them to sell their collections under cost that I’ve mostly stopped recommending it as a source for any books I cite.

On the other hand, out here in the sticks Amazon is a practical alternative to long drives to larger cities and high-priced stores.

I’ve ambivalent, but hopeful.

When Ma Bell was broken up, the net result was a lot of smaller companies, so that we still had a good, functioning telephone system without the sense of Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine saying “We’re the phone company. We don’t care. We don’t have to!”

Something like that would be nice.

Speaking of Consumer Issues

Nay offers an alternative to standing in that long line at the Pearly Gates, but if word got down to Earth, we’d have people posting on social media that angels were losing their jobs and it was just too hard to figure out how to get into heaven through that gol-darned new-fangled system.

Maybe the UK is different, but I’ve never seen a store where you didn’t have the option of waiting in line for a cashier. And it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a store that didn’t have signs begging you to come work there. They’re desperate to hire, not laying people off.

But I remember the people who couldn’t figure out how to put gasoline in their cars when self-pump began, and there are still people who can’t deal with ATMs, despite the fact that the young folks aren’t even using those, now that they have banking apps on their phones.

Bottom line is this: Most people prefer self-check.

But a whole lot of people enjoy complaining.

Always have.

11 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Fallacy Round-up

  1. I have never figured out the hatred for self-checkout. I prefer to bag and pay for my stuff with as little human interaction as possible, and in the case of groceries I have definite ways of bagging them. Most based on the idea that I usually buy heavily in the frozen foods department, my recyclable totes are insulated, and I don’t necessarily make the grocery store the last stop before I arrive home. Yes, I pack my own bags even when going thru a manned checkout. The employee is usually quite appreciative.

    Now, I will admit, I absolutely refuse to allow myself to be stopped at the door as I’m exiting to allow some employee to check my receipt (BJ’s Club is the one exception, I agreed to that when I took out the membership). If the store chooses to trust me to check out my own purchases (looking at you WalMart), then they can bloody well trust me to be honest that I’ve run everything thru the register.

    1. In all the years I’ve been using self-checks, I’ve been stopped to show my receipt on the way out maybe twice, no matter where I shop.
      I guarantee that 99% of the time, the low-wage peons who have to just stand near the door all day just don’t care. They’re not paid enough to care.

  2. Self-checkout means that the retailer is expecting me to perform a task that should be performed by an employee – someone with a JOB.
    I say screw that. If you want me to work for you, PAY ME to do so.
    I’ll wait in a line for a real checkout, rather than letting them scam me into making it so they don’t need to hire as many employees.

    1. You must live in a place with high unemployment. It’s hard for stores here to hire clerks and they sure work hard to hang on to the ones they’ve got, and to try to attract new hires.

      I assume you also refuse to pump your own gas or use an ATM, and that, when you go to a store, you ask for the things you want instead of fetching them from the shelf yourself and costing some poor shopgirl her job.

  3. I use the self-checkout at my neighborhood CVS, where generally I fit my purchases into a single bag, which I have brought in with me. And also at the mini-Target nearby, where I will have wheeled my grocery trolley.

    But it’s different at a real grocery, or the full-size Target I sometimes drive to. I can’t manage to get multiple bags to stand stably on the tiny platforms provided at a self-checkout. And probably also there is something wrong with my operational technique, as in that situation I get frequent and multiple “Unchecked item placed in bag!” or related errors.

    1. Same here. It works OK if you have a couple of items, but I constantly get reminders to “place the item in the bagging area” when I already have.

  4. Must be different where you are. Our Kroger put in self checks, and now they have 1 or 2 checkers and the lines are really long. I use self check, but the lines there are now long too because there is only 1 checker.

    I disagree that this is comparable to the luddites. They had a valid point. They were complaining about mill owners replacing technology so they could hire cheaper, unskilled labor. Much like the writers guild and their complaint about AI.

    1. True about the Luddites, and here’s a review of a new book on the topic that also compares it to AI.

      I looked the other day and my favorite grocery had four checkers on duty, plus the two monitoring their 10 self-checks. But other stores can only manage one person on four self-checks and two at the registers. As you note, there are lines at the registers, but, for that matter, I rarely have to wait at the ATM driveup and there will be lines at the teller window — not necessarily because more people like live tellers but because it’s slower and causes backup! (We seem to have all adjusted to pumping our own gas.)

  5. The only place I use self-checkout is at the local hardware store, especially when I have just a few things (in fact, self-checkout there is limited to ten items). The one time I tried self checkout at a normal (big) grocery store, I discovered that the morons required ALL the checked-out items to remain on the checkout scales until payment was completed. That meant that it was impossible to use the system for more than two or three bags of groceries (and I had two or three times that much in my cart). The system also required a separate confirmation of age for each and every single bottle of beer I was buying. Perhaps they’ve fixed both of those idiocies since then, but I don’t care, they take their moronic, customer & employee hostile machines and stuff them in their ears. I won’t use them ever again.

    1. Another late reader here, and I agree with you. I refuse to try to manage self-checkout with a full basket and my own bags. I will use it if I have just a few things, there are lines at the cashiers, and there are no lines at the self-checkout, but on no other occasion without significant price breaks for taking the extra time and doing the extra work. The cashiers and baggers are much quicker than I am. And I, too, get the “place the item in the bagging area” message when I already have, sometimes multiple times depending on the number of items I have.

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